- Ban Ki-moon - Bashar al-Assad - civil war - Syria - United Nations
No troop pullout unless rebels withdraw, Syria says
Syria will not withdraw its forces from rebel hubs as agreed under a UN-backed April 10 ceasefire deal unless it receives "written guarantees" that the opposition will do the same, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
AFP - The Syrian government will not withdraw its forces from Syrian protest hubs without "written guarantees" that the opposition will also lay down its arms, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
"To say that Syria will pull back its forces from towns on April 10 is inaccurate, Kofi Annan having not yet presented written guarantees on the acceptance by armed terrorist groups of a halt to all violence," it said.
"Mr Annan has not submitted written guarantees from the governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey on stopping their funding to terrorist groups," the ministry added.
On Thursday the UN Security Council formally endorsed April 10 as the deadline for Syrian troops and big guns to be withdrawn from cities, but Damascus said on Friday the number of "terrorist acts" has risen since the deal was reached with UN and Arab League envoy Annan.
His six-part peace plan foresees the withdrawal of the Syrian army from the cities on Tuesday, with a complete end to fighting 48 hours later.
"Syria is not going to repeat what happened in the presence of Arab observers when armed forces left towns," the ministry statement said.
"Armed terrorist groups reorganised and rearmed to control entire neighbourhoods, committing every possible terrorist act, killing and kidnapping people and destroying public and private property."
It said that during his meeting in Damascus with President Bashar al-Assad, "Annan said his mission was based on respect for Syrian sovereignty."
"He said he would work to stop the violence, disarm armed groups... initiate a comprehensive national dialogue with opposition movements in Syria," the ministry said, adding that "it is this principle on which Syria accepted Annan's mission and his six-point plan."
The ministry also expressed Syria's willingness to cooperate with the envoy.
"Syria is ready to continue cooperating with Mr Annan and we will continue to inform him of the steps we are taking to implement the plan, in the hope of obtaining documented guarantees," it said.