Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Syria agrees to Kofi Annan's six points

 Annan and Assad during their second talk on 11 March 2012.

Syria's government has agreed to accept the peace plan put forward by the United Nations and Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, his spokesman said on Tuesday. Mr Annan said he considered it "an important initial step that could bring an end to the violence and the bloodshed", but implementation was key. Mr Annan has written to President Assad urging him to put his commitments into immediate effect.
Annan's plan calls for a UN-supervised halt to fighting in Syria and a transition to a more representative political system. The news that Syria agrees to it came as Annan held talks with China's Premier Wen Jiabao. China threw its support behind the plan. A Chinese spokesman said to hope that 'all parties in Syria can cooperate with Mr Annan's mediation efforts, in order to create conditions for a political settlement'. Annan's plan has also the backing of Russia. He got Russias support during talks he held in Moscow on Sunday.  

The news that Assad goes along with Annan's plan came as Syrian opposition factions including the main Syrian National Council (SNC) were meeting for a second day to agree on common objectives for their nation's future ahead of a weekend "Friends of Syria" conference. There was no immediate reaction. Annan's plan calls for an end to the fighting in a UN-supervised ceasefire. The oppositional SNC, however,  so far has said that a peacekeeping mission would give President Bashar al-Assad more time and that the government has not kept earlier promises to reform. The SNC has declared that it does not want to start negotiations until president Assad has stepped down.

Annan's six-point peace plan (source BBC)
1. Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people
2. UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians
3. All parties to ensure provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause
4. Authorities to intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons
5. Authorities to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists
6. Authorities to respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully
 Annan has stressed there can be no deadline to ending the year-long crisis. "I think only Syrians should decide the issue of Assad's resignation," Annan told Russian news agencies after Sunday's talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
"It's important to sit all Syrians behind a negotiating table," he said, according to a Russian translation of his remarks, adding it was "incorrect to give any deadlines" for ending the violence in Syria.
Medvedev had warned on Sunday that Annan represented the "last chance" for avoiding a civil war in Syria, promising him Russia's full support.

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