Annan optimistic, but no Syria deal yet
Damascus, March 11, 2012
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said he was optimistic after a second round of talks with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on Sunday, but acknowledged it would be difficult to reach a deal to halt the bloodshed.
'It's going to be tough. It's going to be difficult but we have to have hope,' he told reporters in Damascus. 'I am optimistic for several reasons,' he said, citing a general desire for peace in Syria.
Annan told reporters he had left 'concrete proposals' with Assad, and called for an immediate halt to the killings in Syria, where the United Nations says Assad's forces have killed 7,500 people in a year-long crackdown on protests. Authorities say 2,000 soldiers have been killed by insurgents.
'I have urged the president to heed the African proverb which says you cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail,' Annan said. Syria needed to embrace change and reform, he said.
'You have to start by stopping the killings and the misery and the abuses that (are) going on today and then give time (for a) political settlement,' he said.
Annan, who also met religious leaders in Damascus on Sunday, said the situation was 'so bad and so dangerous' that all Syrians bore a responsibility to 'help heal and reconcile this nation'. - Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- Gulf stocks surge as Fed tapering adds fuel to fire
- Swiss extend freeze on Arab Spring assets
- Court ruling paves way for Mubarak aide's return
- 500 killed as fighting intensifies in South Sudan
- Secret detention part of Syria 'terror campaign,' says UN
- Gold hits 6-month low after Fed stimulus trim
- One million Gazans in need of food aid says UN
- US Senate passes crucial budget deal
- Astra eyes $4.1bn Bristol diabetes venture stake
- EU agrees on blueprint to close failing banks