Annan meets Assad anew, rebel bastion stormed | world | Hindustan Times
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Annan meets Assad anew, rebel bastion stormed

Former UN chief Kofi Annan on Sunday urged President Bashar al-Assad to "embrace change," in a second meeting on his mission to defuse the Syria crisis, even as soldiers stormed a rebel bastion.

world Updated: Mar 11, 2012 20:39 IST

Former UN chief Kofi Annan on Sunday urged President Bashar al-Assad to "embrace change," in a second meeting on his mission to defuse the Syria crisis, even as soldiers stormed a rebel bastion.

Annan said he handed over a set of "concrete proposals" aimed at halting the year-old bloodshed in Syria.

"I presented a set of concrete proposals which would have a real impact on the situation on the ground and which will help launch a process aimed at putting an end to this crisis," the UN-Arab League envoy told reporters.

"The realistic response is to embrace change and reforms," he told reporters after the Damascus meeting.

Diplomats at the United Nations in New York expressed pessimism about the prospects for Annan's mission after troops poured into the northwestern city of Idlib late Saturaday just hours after his first meeting with Assad.

Activists had expressed concern that the city would suffer a similar fate to the Homs neighbourhood of Baba Amr, which was stormed by government troops on March 1 after a month-long bombardment in which hundreds of people died.

Syrian state television said there was a "positive atmosphere" to Saturday's talks between Assad and the former UN chief, their first since Annan's appointment as international envoy on the conflict.