Annan raises 'grave concern' over Syria

2012-03-10 22:56
New York - International envoy Kofi Annan expressed "grave concern" to Syria's President Bashar Assad on Saturday over the government's deadly crackdown, the UN said, adding the men will meet again on Sunday.

The former UN secretary general "put several proposals on the table regarding stopping the violence and the killing, access for humanitarian agencies and the ICRC, release of detainees, and the start of an inclusive political dialogue," the United Nations said.

It gave no details of the proposals, but the UN and International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) have made repeated pleas for access to the cities where the UN says more than 7 500 people have died in the past year.

'Candid' talks

Annan, on his first trip to Damascus since being named joint envoy by the UN and Arab League, "expressed grave concern at the situation in Syria and urged the president to take concrete steps to end the current crisis," said the UN statement.

The envoy and Syrian president will meet again on Sunday, the statement added.

Talks went ahead as the Syrian army pursued its offensive against opponents, storming the rebel city of Idlib, according to rights group monitors.

Annan described his first talks with Assad as "candid and comprehensive".

He went on to meet "opposition leaders and young activists, as well as prominent businessmen and businesswomen," the statement said.

Annan will go on from Damascus to Doha, Qatar on Sunday.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos left Damascus on Friday after a three day visit when she went to the city of Homs and said much of it had been "devastated". She also made proposals to seek more access to Syrian cities.

Read more on:    un  |  kofi annan  |  bashar assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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