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Syria accepts Kofi Annan-brokered peace deal

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 27th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

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.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Mr. Annan views this as an important initial step that could bring an end to the violence and the bloodshed, provide aid to the suffering, and create an environment conducive to a political dialogue that would fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people," he added.

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.

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