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Geopolitics

'Tricked' In Libya - Kofi Annan On Why Russia And China Won’t Budge On Syria

In an interview with Le Monde, Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria, concedes that his mission has so far been a failure. He speaks frankly about Russia and China, but also suggests more focus on Iran and others in coming clean on their i

Kofi Annan during his trip to Syria in March (FreedomHouse2)
Kofi Annan during his trip to Syria in March (FreedomHouse2)
Nathalie Nougayrede

Kofi Annan continues his efforts to broker a peace deal in Syria, with a meeting Monday in Damascus with President Bashar Al-Assad. In an exclusive interview published Sunday in Le Monde, Annan speaks with notable frankness about why his mission has not succeeded, including a lack of trust from Moscow and Beijing and not enough attention on Tehran's intentions.

LE MONDE: Syria has been plagued by violence for the past 16 months, and things seem to be getting worse. By some counts, there have been 16,000 deaths, there are 1.5 million people in need of humanitarian aid and 100,000 have fled to neighboring countries.
KOFI ANNAN: The crisis started 16 months ago, but I only got involved three months ago. We made important efforts to try and deal with the situation peacefully and politically. Clearly, we haven't succeeded. And there is no guarantee that we will eventually succeed. Have we thought about alternatives? Have we put other options on the table? That's what I told the UN Security Council, adding that the mission was limited in time and so was my own role.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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