Annan tells UN Syria welshing on deal

2012-04-12 20:06

New York - UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the Security Council on Thursday that Syria has not fully complied with the terms of his peace plan and urged the 15-nation body to demand the withdrawal of troops and heavy weapons from towns, council diplomats said.

Annan also told council members that Syria's fragile truce needs support and called for the swift deployment of a first wave of unarmed observers to monitor implementation of his six-point peace plan, to be followed by a second wave of observers later, diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

A UN-backed ceasefire aimed at halting more than a year of bloodshed in Syria appeared to be holding early on Thursday but anti-government activists saw no sign that President Bashar al-Assad was pulling his forces out of restive cities.

Asked if Annan told the council the Syrian army still had troops and heavy weapons in towns, one envoy said: "Yes he did.

Annan also told the Security Council that the "ceasefire needs to be supported because it's fragile, [he] wants deployment of a mission of observers with a second wave later to monitor implementation of the six-point plan, with guarantees by Damascus," the diplomat said.

Annan also urged the council "to demand withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops".

Another diplomat confirmed his remarks.

The former UN secretary-general said earlier in a statement that "Syria is experiencing a rare moment of calm on the ground," adding that it "must be sustained".

"The Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, will be asking the Security Council for approval of the deployment of a U.N. Observer Mission as soon as possible," Annan said in his statement.

"This will allow us to move quickly to launch a serious political dialogue that will address the concerns and aspirations of the Syrian people," he said.

Annan's six-point plan calls for a ceasefire by Syrian armed forces and rebels and dialogue between the government and opposition aimed at a "political transition" for the country. 

Rapid deployment

AFP reports Annan also asked the 15-nation council to authorise the quick deployment of an observer mission to Syria, diplomats said.

The UN plan is for a small initial force to be sent followed by reinforcements so that Annan's peace plan can be fully monitored.

Annan said in his statement before the meeting that an observer mission would "allow us to move quickly to launch a serious dialogue that will address the concerns and aspirations of the Syrian people."

Any deployment of a UN mission requires a Security Council resolution. Russia and China have vetoed the two attempts so far to pass resolutions on the crisis in Syria.

But the two countries have also stepped up diplomatic pressure on the Damascus government in recent days to comply with the Annan plan.

The United States and European powers on the Security Council have expressed strong doubts that the Syrian government will stick to the Annan plan and called for measures against Assad if the ceasefire fails.

One diplomat at Thursday's meeting said however that the ceasefire was "a glimmer of hope" and that "rapid council action" to support Annan was likely.

Read more on:    un security council  |  kofi annan  |  bashar al-assad  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
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