News24

Syria: Diplomatic timeline

2012-06-30 07:45

Damascus - The main diplomatic moves to try to end the conflict in Syria, which monitors say has left more than 15 800 people dead since a widespread revolt broke out in March 2011:

- 18 August 2011: US President Barack Obama and Western allies call for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

- 27 August: The Arab League, of which Syria is a member, holds an extraordinary summit on ending the violence.

Efforts by Western powers to obtain a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Syria are stymied by Russia and China.

- 2 November: The Arab League says it has the agreement of Assad on a plan that would involve an end to the violence and a pullback of belligerent forces, leading to a "conference of national dialogue".

Ten days later, however, the League votes to suspend Syria's membership of the pan-Arab organisation due to the continued repression. It later also calls on its members to enact sanctions against the regime.

Failed mission

- 19 December: After tough negotiations, Syria agrees to receive a delegation of Arab League monitors.

- 22 January 2012: The Arab League agrees on a new plan under which Assad would hand over power to his deputy pending elections.

- 28 January: The Arab League acknowledges its observer mission has failed to halt the violence.

- 24 February: A group of mainly Western and Arab countries calling themselves the "Friends of Syria" hold a conference in Tunis. However Russia and China, who hold veto power on the UN Security Council, refuse to attend.

- 21 March: The Security Council agrees on a plan drafted by its former secretary general, Kofi Annan. The plan calls for a ceasefire, return of troops to their barracks and the opening of talks between the government and opposition.

- 1 April: Meeting in Istanbul, Friends of Syria countries extend formal recognition to the Syrian National Council, the main opposition umbrella group.

Continuing violence

- 12 April: The ceasefire called for under the Annan plan is supposed to come into force - but violence continues unabated.

- 14 and 21 April: The UN Security Council votes to send first 30 and then 300 observers to Syria.

- 16 June: Amid continuing heavy violence, the UN suspends the work of its observer mission, although they remain in the country.

- 18 June: Presidents Obama of the United States and Vladimir Putin of Russia meet at a G20 summit and call for "an immediate cessation of all violence".

- Saturday, 30 June: The foreign ministers of the five permanent UN Security Council members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - to meet in Geneva to discuss a transitional plan for Syria.