Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Artful diplomacy with Syria and Iran

Kofi Annan and Catherine Ashton each relied on delicate diplomacy to bring some fragile hope to two big security issues – Iran's nuclear program and the civil war in Syria.

International envoy Kofi Annan, left, meets with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad April 12. Annan appealed to Syria's key ally Iran to support his plan to end the violence wracking the Arab country.

Hamid Foroutan/ISNA/AP Photo

About these ads

As Churchill once said, to jaw-jaw is better than to war-war. That could well describe what two seasoned diplomats have pulled off in two of the world’s big security issues – civil war in Syria and Israel’s threat to attack Iran.

In the Syrian conflict, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan convinced enough big powers as well as strongman Bashar al-Assad to accept a cease-fire plan last week. UN observers are now entering the country in a long-shot attempt to stop a conflict that has seen more than 9,000 killed over the past year.

An equally herculean task was achieved by Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign-policy chief. Under the dark cloud of an Israeli threat to bomb Iran, she was able to arrange 10 hours of talks last Saturday between Iran and six other nations – the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China. The negotiations in Istanbul, Turkey, were “constructive” and are set to resume next month in Baghdad, Iraq. Iran agreed to draft a proposal for changes to its nuclear program.


Page:   1   |   2

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.