Syria crisis could impact whole region, warns Annan

International envoy Kofi Annan said Friday that he feared the fallout from the Syria crisis could impact the whole of the Middle East as he confirmed a UN team would visit Syria this weekend.

"We are concerned because the crisis can impact the whole region and beyond Syria if it is not handled correctly," Annan, who is mediating on behalf of the United Nations and Arab League, told journalists.

"I hope they will have all the access that is necessary," Annan added at a press conference in Geneva after a video address to the UN Security Council.

Annan would not comment on how his talks went when he visited Damascus last weekend, saying merely that his reception was "welcome and correct".

He added that he had met with authorities and the opposition as well as business and religious leaders.

"The talking continues," he said in Geneva, stressing that caution was needed because the whole region were concerned.

The UN Security Council has been riven by divisions over its response to the Syria crisis, with China and Russia having blocked two resolutions criticizing the Assad regime's year-long crackdown on the opposition.

However Annan, who is a former UN secretary-general, said he had been encouraged by the response of the Security Council's members in his address and expected them a unified response from them.

"I was encouraged by the strong support of the council to work together. I hope pretty soon you will be hearing one voice from the council," he said.

-AFP/NOW Lebanon

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