Syria 'agrees' to peace plan deadline, Annan tells UN

Free Syrian Army fighter in Damascus (1 April) Fighters from the Free Syrian Army are to have their salaries paid by Gulf Arab states, it was announced on Sunday

Syria has agreed to a 10 April deadline to begin implementing a six-point peace plan, UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has said, according to diplomats.

The plan calls for a UN-supervised ceasefire by all parties, withdrawal of soldiers and heavy weapons from cities, and delivery of humanitarian aid.

Mr Annan was briefing the UN Security Council in closed session.

Violence in Syria continued on Monday, with activists reporting fighting in Idlib and Homs.

Red Cross visit

Mr Annan has asked the Security Council for its backing of next Tuesday's deadline for Syria to partially implement his peace plan, with a full ceasefire within 48 hours.

Syria said last week it accepted the peace plan. However, Mr Annan cautioned the Security Council that so far there was no sign of President Bashar al-Assad's government keeping its promises on implementation, diplomats said.

Annan's six-point peace plan

1. Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people

2. UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians

3. All parties to ensure provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause

4. Authorities to intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons

5. Authorities to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists

6. Authorities to respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully

Speaking after the briefing from Mr Annan, US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said: "We have seen... promises made and promises broken."

Past experience "would lead us to be sceptical" that Syria would implement the Annan plan, Ms Rice said, warning that it was possible violence might escalate instead.

Syria's ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja'fari, confirmed Damascus accepted the 10 April deadline but told reporters Mr Annan must get similar commitments from the opposition.

Ms Rice said Mr Annan's deputy, Nasser al-Kidwa, had had "constructive exchanges" with the opposition to urge them to cease their operations within 48 hours of a complete cessation of government hostilities.

The BBC's Barbara Plett, in New York, says Mr Annan told the closed session that Syria had said it was not ready to pull troops and heavy weapons out of the cities unless the armed opposition laid down their weapons too.

The deadline will make clear whether, as some of his critics have said, Mr Assad is simply stalling for time, our correspondent adds.

Funding for rebels

On Sunday, a group of 83 countries backing political change in Syria warned President Assad he had little time to comply with Mr Annan's plan.

"The window of opportunity for the regime to implement its commitments to Joint Special Envoy Annan is not open-ended," the "Friends of Syria" said in a statement.

"The Friends' Group called upon the Joint Special Envoy to determine a timeline for next steps, including a return to the UN Security Council, if the killing continues," it added.

Gulf Arab countries attending the group's meeting in Istanbul agreed to pay the salaries and other costs of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA).

The money, which will be distributed through the opposition Syrian National Council, is the first formal international support for the FSA.

Meanwhile, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger, is on his way to Damascus for talks about expanding aid operations and gaining access to all detainees.

During his two-day visit, Mr Kellenberger plans to visit areas affected during the fighting, the ICRC said in a statement.

Last month, after the fall of the rebel district of Baba Amr, in Homs, the Syrian government said it would allow an ICRC convoy into the area.

However, when the convoy reached Baba Amr on 2 March, it was denied permission to enter.

The Local Co-ordination Committees, a network of anti-government activists in Syria, said 65 people were killed on Monday. They included 40 dead in Homs, 14 in Idlib, six in Hama and five in Aleppo.

The figures cannot be verified independently, as journalists' movements are severely restricted in Syria.


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  • Comment number 125.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    The so-called friends of Syria are in reality the enemies of Syria. They are basiclly the western powers and the corrupt allies they have in the middle east whose main concerns is to prop up the crumbling power structures and protect Israel by weaking Iran and it's allies. To do this they are willing to let Syria go to hell.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    I do not know how old u r, but imagine having 2 live the next 40 years of it life under the same pm, b it David Cameron 4 arguments sake. well, at least here he will have a parliament and an opposition 2 consider, while n Syria, Libya and the likes, there is no constitution, no opposition, and loyalty 2 him is a must. What's worse is that the whole is his family's inheritance, take it or leave it

  • Comment number 122.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 121.

    Response to 120 Khaled Azzawi

    Your argument would be more powerful if Libya could be seen as a success.

    Foreign intervention with Libya was a disaster and the cost is still being counted, both in financial and humanitarian terms.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    People need 2 have lived n 1 of those countries 2 realise how controlled and hopeless people's lives r under what can only b described as purely selfish dictatorship. I say that because I came from one, Libya, and although I understand people's argument about foreign intervention, truth is people r tired of decades of militarian family rules that consider their country to b a big farm they own.

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    It looks like the USA, Arabs, Jews and the UK are determined to fund mercenaries to fight a civil war in Syria.

    So maybe it would be wise for Mr Assad & his regime to leave Syria for a while.

    The Syrian people will plead for him to return.

    But unfortunately, this will not happen because he will probably be assassinated to prevent full details of this disaster being disclosed.


  • rate this

    Comment number 118.

    87.Simon Morgan
    How does `your country``cling to power = Keeping people ignorant & poor ?? The police-army will also inflict deadly forece if the state is threatened eg Ulster

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    Now nearly all are sceptical of the implementation of the ceasefire and I think the dictator will not intend to put his commitment into effect. The dictator shall stand aside and is put on trial for the crimes against humanity and massacre of its own citizens. Actually it is not necessary to negotiate any promises with the dictator.

  • Comment number 116.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    News and history are written by the greatest power regionally. Syria and other nations are fueled with that to make war by the two differences in powers, either it is The USA & Allies or The Soviets & their Allies. They all are evil, playing Good Cop / Bad Cop, devouring the weaker nations. The truth not only bashes evil' but exposes it's propaganda too!

  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    The Arab UPRISING has lead to - Inhalda coming to power in Tunisia, Muslim Brotherhood has a major say in Egypt, all these people/group were not even involved in the uprising which we understand was started by liberals. Look at Libya its chaotic and the people who will cease power will be with anti-democratic tendency and islamic view, do we really want this is Syria?

  • rate this

    Comment number 113.

    I tire of this Russia bashing. The UN charter specifically prohibits intervening in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. That Russia supports the charter is wrong? That Russia pursues a dialog for peace rather than war is wrong? The western idealists keep throwing petrol on the fire burning in Syria will come back to haunt them. The west is as much to blame for the Syrian death toll as Assad

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    BBC you are referring to Syria and you should be expounding on the one truly responsible and that is Russia.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    Earlier Assad had claimed he was fighting criminal gangs, terrorist, Al-Qaeda; now he can legitimately claim he is fighting foreign paid mercenaries! Further, Assad is fully justified to take out retribution on those Gulf States finding these mercenaries. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and others, these gov'ts put down their own Arab springs. Wait till their own insurgencies get armed & funded.

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.

    83. Simon Morgan
    British 'interests' have always extended well beyond the fiscal, despite what the cynics say.

    A lot of people are stil paying dearly 50 years later for the results of British "interests" in Central Africa, Iran, and the elsewhere the ME.

    JC Carothers & Mau Mau, Fazlollah Zahedi & BP, anyone?

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Syria population is around 15%Alawite 15%Christian and 15%Kurd
    These minorities often no lovers of the regime, prefer it to a likely alternative an intolerant Islamist regime Also the Sunni businessclass comprises 10% and are in same boat as rest of minoritis. More than half pop is unsure. The SNC has to get its act together to reassure all segments of pop that change is best; then lets talk arms

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    And Dear Mr Annan,

    You are a pawn in his game!

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    He's not to be believed...for he was born a liar & a murderer...& neither of the two are yet completed by him. For he was born a liar & a murderer...& the world is a witness to those two facts.

  • Comment number 106.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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