Syria peace plan close to collapse
A UN-brokered peace plan for Syria appeared close to collapse as the government demanded a written guarantee that the rebels will lay down their arms before authorities withdraw troops from cities and towns.world Updated: Apr 10, 2012 00:26 IST
A UN-brokered peace plan for Syria appeared close to collapse as the government demanded a written guarantee that the rebels will lay down their arms before authorities withdraw troops from cities and towns.
The statement cast serious doubt on hopes that the peace plan — the only initiative backed by Syrian allies China, Russia and Iran as well as the United ¬Nations, the Arab League and Syria — could quell the violence stemming from a government crackdown on a year-long uprising against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Kofi Annan, the joint UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, issued a statement Sunday in Geneva, saying he was shocked by “a surge in violence and atrocities” that violated assurances given to him by Syrian officials. Annan had said that the withdrawal of troops from cities was due to be completed by April 10, and that there would be a cessation of hostilities by all sides 48 hours later.
Jihad Makdissi, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said U.N. reports that Syrian officials had said their forces would pull back from cities by the Tuesday deadline resulted from a mis-understanding. He instead presented conditions that were not part of the six-point peace plan hashed out last month by Annan.
Makdissi called for written guarantees from armed groups that they would lay down their weapons in exchange for government forces’ withdrawal from cities, and he demanded that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey withdraw their support for armed opposition, according to Syrian state media.
(In exclusive partnership with The Washington Post)