Syria accepts Kofi Annan-brokered peace deal
Plans call for Syrian president to withdraw troops, two-hour ceasefire
The Syrian government has accepted a six-point plan brokered by the
United Nations and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to end the ongoing
violence. "The Syrian government has written to the joint special envoy
Kofi Annan, accepting his six-point plan, endorsed by the United Nations
Security Council," The former U.N. chief's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said
in a statement.
'The Syrian government has written to the joint special envoy Kofi Annan, accepting his six-point plan, endorsed by the United Nations Security Council,' The former U.N. chief's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said in a statement.
Annan is currently in China to seek Beijing's support for his peace proposal. He has requested that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ask Damascus to "put its commitments into immediate effect."
The six-point plan includes the withdrawal of troops and heavy weapons from protest hubs, a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire, access to all areas affected by the fighting and a U.N.-supervised halt to all clashes.
Annan is due to in Baghdad this week to discuss how to move forward with the plan with Arab League leaders. The opposition had originally dismissed Annan's initiative as an opportunity for the government to continue its repression.
An executive member of the Syrian National Council, a prominent opposition group, Bassma Kodmani says that the council "cautiously welcomes the regime's acceptance of the plan."
Speaking ahead of a meeting of opposition groups in Istanbul, Kodmani said the council would work towards making the plan succeed. However, the council still insists that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down.
"We do continue to say that we need to see Bashar al-Assad steps down. That will never change. For this, thousands of people have sacrificed. There is no way that any representative or credible opposition group can say otherwise. What we are saying here is that if this can open the way for a peaceful transition of power, this is what we would like to see," she said.
Several opposition groups are meeting in the Turkish capital ahead of an international contact group meeting on the crisis in the Syria.
Arab leaders are due to meet in Baghdad this week to discuss the crisis. Annan will brief leaders at the Arab League summit in the Iraqi capital.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said that the League will support a Syrian-led power transfer.
"There has to be a political solution, fundamental constitutional and political changes for transfer of power in Syria but through a Syrian-led process," Zebari said. "We are not in a position to dictate to the Syrians what of kind of president, what kind of leader they should have."
Annan's office also announced China's decision to back Annan's plan after the envoy held talks with Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has also pledged his country's support for the plan.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Kofi Annan, Syria, peace deal, Arab League, United Nations
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