UN/Arab League envoy Kofi Annan insisted his peace plan for Syria was still alive, despite continued fighting. Under Annan’s plan, government and opposition forces must end all hostilities by 6am Thursday.
AFP - UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said the situation in Syria should be "much improved" by a Thursday deadline if both sides in the conflict respect a peace plan he drew up.
Annan, speaking at a news conference in Tehran on Wednesday, said: "If everyone respects, I think by six o'clock on Thursday the 12th... we a should see a much improved situation on the ground."
He said the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has given "further clarifications" over how it would implement its side of the plan after it failed to observe a Tuesday deadline to withdraw its forces from urban areas.
Syria Fighting continues
Activists are reporting fresh violence in different parts of Syria less than 24-hours before a U.N.-brokered cease fire is to go into effect.
The Local Coordination Committees says there is shelling of several rebel-held neighbourhoods in the central city of Homs.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says “tens of army vehicles” are deploying in the southern town of Maaraba amid intense shooting.
Wednesday’s violence came as international envoy Kofi Annan appealed to Syria’s key ally Iran to support his plan to end the violence wracking the Arab country, saying that “any further militarization of the conflict would be disastrous.”
The cease-fire is scheduled to go into effect at 6 a.m. Thursday.
"What they mean and want is an assurance that the other forces, the opposition forces, would also stop the fighting so that we could see cessation of all the violence," he said.
Annan said his team has "had positive answers from them" and that "governments with influence" had also been approached to ensure that all sides in the conflict respect the ceasefire.
Annan's six-point plan called for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from populated centres on Tuesday, and then a complete cessation of combat in the following 48 hours. That 48-hour period is to end at 6:00 am Damascus time (0300 GMT) on Thursday.
Annan arrived in Tehran late Wednesday from Turkey for talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.
Iran is Syria's principal ally in the Middle East and has given political and material support to Assad's regime.
Turkey has called for Assad to step down to resolve the bloody uprising in Syria that has killed more than 9,000 people since it started a year ago, according to a UN estimate.
Salehi said in the joint news conference that "we told Mr Annan that as long as the peace plan continues its approach, Iran will support it."
He reiterated that "any change that is to occur in Syria should be done by the Syrian government," and voiced support for reforms Assad has promised to bring in for democratic elections and changes to Syria's constitution.
"We are satisfied that there is no discussion within Annan's peace plan that the head of the Syrian government should be removed nor that they need a change of the Syrian government," Salehi said.
Date created : 2012-04-11