Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan addressed the One Young World delegates in Pittsburgh this afternoon. Annan talked about his recent book Military Interventions: A Life in War and Peace and promised each delegate a free copy of the book. He warned that the military intervention in Syria will not work and that political settlement is the only solution.
After his speech, some of the delegates had a chance to ask Annan questions and one of the questions that they really wanted to get an answer to was Syria: a delegate from Pittsburgh asked whether Annan believed that Lakhdar Brahimi, the current Joint Special Representative for Syria appointed after Kofi Annan's resignation, will succeed in bringing peace to Syria; the second question came from a Turkish delegate, she asked Annan how the UN could turn a blind eye to atrocities happening in Syria and why wouldn't it stop violence that is spilling over Syria's borders into her native country Turkey.
Kofi Annan said that Syrian conflict is complex. That's one of the reasons why he agreed to serve as the Special Representative. "Syria is not Libya. It will not implode. It will explode well beyond its borders if we don't handle it well," Kofi Annan said.
He also had few words of advice for the generation of future leaders. Here is a synopsis in tweets from the attendees:
Annan on talking with dictators: Make "peace not with your friends, (but) with your enemies. ... You shake hands with the devil ... ." #OYW— Adam Smeltz (@SmeltzTrib) October 21, 2012
Kofi Annan is a magical speaker. He named Nelson Mandela and FW De Klerk as his heroes!!! It was an honour to be able to listen to him #OYW— Mpho Sedibe (@MphoSedibe) October 21, 2012