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Annan expects Syria response today

Ankara, March 13, 2012

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan said he was expecting a response on Tuesday from the Syrian government to 'concrete proposals' he made to end violence during weekend talks with President Bashar Al-Assad.

Annan met Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu late on Monday to discuss the crisis threatening to tip Turkey's southern neighbour into civil war.

'I also indicated to them that I am expecting to hear from the Syrian authorities today, since I left some concrete proposals for them to consider,' Annan told a news conference after meeting members of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) in Ankara.

'Once I receive their answer we will know how to react,' he said of the Syrian government. 'But let me say the killing and violence must cease.'

Annan has not disclosed what his proposals entailed.

Syria's ambassador to Moscow said on Monday that the discussion between Assad and Annan had echoed 'five principles' for a Syrian settlement agreed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Arab League foreign ministers.

Russia and the Arab ministers meeting in Cairo on Saturday agreed on five points, namely the need to end violence 'from any source', the need for unbiased monitoring, opposition to foreign intervention, delivering humanitarian aid and supporting Annan's mission.

'The whole world is coming together and working with us to resolve the situation in Syria and with goodwill and determination I am hopeful we will make progress,' Annan said.

Erdogan told parliamentarians from the ruling AK Party that Turkey planned to host a meeting of the Friends of Syria, a group of mostly Arab and Western governments, on April 2 to find ways to pressure Assad into halting a crackdown on unrest.

More than 50 countries were represented at the first meeting of foreign ministers from the group in Tunis in late February.

During the Tunis meeting, Arab League countries Saudi Arabia and Qatar advocated arming rebel soldiers, while Qatar also said an Arab peacekeeping force should be set up to protect people from Assad's forces.

Speaking after meeting Annan, SNC leader Burhan Ghalioun said the aim was for a political and diplomatic solution, otherwise foreign governments would deliver on promises to supply weapons to rebel forces.

'Some states have promised weapons but the real aim now is a political and diplomatic solution,' he said. 'But if this does not come about those states will provide that help.' - Reuters




Tags: Syria | Ankara | Kofi Annan |

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