News24

Syria offers new response to Annan

2012-03-26 20:49

Geneva - Syria has responded afresh to UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan on his six-point proposals to end the crisis in the country, the former UN chief's spokesperson said on Monday.

"The Syrian government has formally responded to the joint special envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan's 6-point plan, as endorsed by the UN Security Council," he said in a statement.

"Mr Annan is studying it and will respond very shortly."

Annan's plan calls for a UN-supervised halt to fighting with the government pulling troops and heavy weapons out of protest cities, a daily two-hour humanitarian pause to hostilities and access to all areas affected by the fighting.

The special envoy also sought the release of people detained over the past year of the uprising against Assad in which monitors say more than 9,100 people have been killed.

Syrian authorities had already given a first round of response to his proposals in mid-March, but the special envoy had sought more information from Damascus.

The latest response came after a team dispatched by Annan to Syria returned after three days of discussions with Syrian authorities.

Annan, who secured backing from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for his mediation efforts in their meeting Sunday, is due to visit Beijing Tuesday to brief leaders about his proposals.

In Moscow, Annan said only Syrians could determine President Bashar Assad's fate and called for the rival sides to negotiate an end to the conflict.

"I think only Syrians should decide the issue of Assad's resignation," Annan told Russian news agencies in remarks translated into Russian.

"It's important to sit all Syrians behind a negotiating table," he said a day after meeting Medvedev.

The envoy added that it was "incorrect to give any deadlines" for ending the violence in Syria.

Medvedev warned Sunday that Annan represented the last chance for avoiding a civil war in Syria and promised him Russia's full support.

China and Russia have previously drawn criticism for blocking UN Security Council resolutions condemning Syria's protracted and deadly crackdown on protests, and their support is crucial for Annan's plan to move forward.