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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.

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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

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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.

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