Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan fired back at comments GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) made about his Syria peace efforts during the debate this month with Vice President Joe Biden.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria talked with Annan yesterday in an interview that will air tomorrow.
Annan called it “a piece of unmitigated nonsense, in effect, saying don’t even try to resolve it peacefully, don’t give the Syrians hope, give weapons and let’s kill each other.”
“You know who — who said that?” Zakaria said. “At the vice presidential debate, Paul Ryan named you and he said the administration put their faith in Kofi Annan and that was the problem.”
“No. And he was dead wrong. He was dead wrong. Honestly, this is one of the first situations where I’ve seen people claim that attempt to mediate complicates or allows more killing to go on. And in almost every situation, we try to find a peaceful solution. If it works, well and good. You save people,” Annan said.
In the Danville, Ky., debate, Ryan said, “We could have more easily identified the free Syrian army, the freedom fighters, working with our allies, the Turks, the Qataris, the Saudis, had we had a better plan in place to begin with working through our allies. But, no, we waited for Kofi Annan to try and come up with an agreement through the U.N. That bought Bashar Assad time.”
“Now, you have Syrians who are living through incredible traumas. And they are the ones we should be crying for, not making statements of don’t attempt to resolve it peacefully,” Annan said. “If they were to go in with a military intervention — and by the way, I don’t sense any agency of countries wanting to rush in and intervene. Yes, some are sending in weapons. But that is quite different from the kind of intervention.”
“But sometimes by making these statements and raising the hope of the people that the cavalry is on the horizon, you complicate the situation and really — and create the fighting and the killing to go on. And if it’s not going to come, one should look at other solutions,” he added.
Annan said he’s “dead certain” military intervention will not work in Syria, where the death toll is now over 30,000. “It will make the situation much worse.”