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Annan Tells UN Security Council That Syria Must Withdraw Troops

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan
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By RFE/RL
Kofi Anna, the international envoy for Syria, has told the UN Security Council that Syria has not fully complied with the terms of his peace plan, despite observing a cease-fire that went into effect at the start of the day.

Speaking in New York, Annan urged the council to demand that Syria full comply by withdrawing troops and heavy weapons from towns as agreed in the peace deal.

Earlier in the day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that the situation in Syria looked calmer after a UN-brokered cease-fire went into effect.

"As of this moment, the situation looks calmer. We are following it very closely," Ban said. "The world is watching, however, with skeptical eyes since many promises previously made by the government of Syria have not been kept."

Speaking in Geneva, Ban also said further militarization of the conflict is not the solution and that he is working with the UN Security Council to send an observer team to Syria as quickly as possible.

Under the deal brokered by Annan, the cease-fire is to be followed by the deployment of an observer mission and negotiations between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and the opposition on a political transition.

There were reports of scattered violence across the country. Activists said forces loyal to Assad fired on civilians in several places, killing at least three people.

Meanwhile, state media said a roadside bomb in the central city of Aleppo killed one army officer and wounded 24 officers and cadets.

Despite the cease-fire, government troops have not pulled back to barracks, as stipulated by Annan's peace plan.

"What we see today, this morning, is that the heavy weaponry is stationed everywhere inside the populated areas," Basma Kodmani, a spokeswoman for the Syrian National Council, the main political opposition group, told journalists in Geneva. "Snipers are deployed across the country in all the populated areas and the centers. There has been an increase, a big increase, in the number of checkpoints, and those checkpoints are heavily armed."

Buildings damaged by fighting, according to the opposition, are seen in Homs on April 10.
Buildings damaged by fighting, according to the opposition, are seen in Homs on April 10.
The relative lull follows weeks of escalating attacks on opposition strongholds by Assad's regime.

Still, expectations were low for an abrupt end to the violence that has rocked the country for more than a year and claimed more than 9,000 lives.

"[Assad's] words are all gibberish," a Syria refugee, Hussein Kasib, told Reuters at the refugee camp at Yayladagi, Turkey. "This cease-fire will not last long. He has been promising this for a year. I do not think he will withdraw either tanks or troops. He is lying. Whenever he says he will end the massacre, he kills more."

Syria and the armed opposition have said they will abide by the cease-fire but were ready to respond if attacked.

The Syrian Interior Ministry said on April 12 that gunmen "who do not have blood on their hands" should turn themselves in to police in the knowledge they will be set free.

Under Annan's plan, the cease-fire is to be followed by the deployment of an observer mission and negotiations between Assad's government and the opposition on a political transition.

China's Foreign Ministry welcomed Syria's pledge for a cease-fire and called on the government to "take concrete actions to support and cooperate with Annan's mediation efforts."

It also called on the opposition to honor the agreement and work toward a political settlement of the crisis.

China, along with Russia, has vetoed two resolutions condemning the crackdown in Syria, but both are backing Annan's mission.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and dpa
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by: Mart from: msiimer@ema.edu.ee
April 12, 2012 05:20
I still never understood why the West is supporting the people who fight Assad. They look like an Islamist mob, at least a large part of them. Is it that Saudi Arabia has such an influence on Obama? Or what is the matter? In my opinion, every thinking person in the West should try to help the minorities, especially Syrian and Iraqi (refugee) Christians who support Assad because he is their only chance.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
April 12, 2012 14:15
US government officials are on Saudi payroll. It does not take a lot of money in relative terms to buy _any_ US senator. In most cases <$100M suffice. And Saudi Arabia which is driven by hateful and despicable cult which George W.Bush called "religion of peace" holds hundreds of billions $$$ in US assets. Therefore Saudi Arabia can easily afford to bribe US government officials, and it does it for years. Which is why US government, its NATO minions, and its state-controlled media are all dutifully support Wahhabi Sunni agenda, including murder and terrorism against Shia Muslims, Alawis, Christians, Budhists, any other "infidels" in Saudi eyes. That is the case in Syria, just like it was the case in Lybia, just like it was the case in Kosovo, just like it was the case in Bosnia, just like it was the case in Chechnya, etc, etc. And it did not matter that the same Wahhabi Sunnis killed 3000 Americans on 9/11 and more than 4500 in Iraq. Those killed were mostly Christians, so US government could not care less. Just today I heard news that of of the closest US allies - Kuwait is implementing death penalty for "insulting" Mohhamad, just like Saudi Arabia has it (which is another closest US ally). That means US government allies can legally execute anyone who is not supporting Wahhabi Sunni ideology of hate. All with US government approval and support.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 13, 2012 18:50
Hey, MART, first of all, I think you are making a huge mistake by publishing your E-mail address together with the comments that you made :-).
Second, completely agree with everything that JACK said to answer your questions.
A few more things: one crucial reason for which the US and NATO are so keen on destabilizaing specifically Syria is the same for which they have for years been after the Lebanese Shia movt Hezbollah and the Palestinean Hamas. All three - the Syrian govt, Hezbollah and Hamas - are together with IRAN a part of the AXIS OF RESISTENCE against the state of Israel and its criminal policies on the Occupied Teritories (by the way, how many DOZENS of resolutions have been adopted by the UN GA urging Israel to cease the occupation? I don't recall the US backing any of them).
So, the NATO's plan is the following: to overthrow the govt of Assad in Syria and install Saudi-backed terrorists in power in Damascus (just like they did in Lybia last year). And then use the Syrian territory for terrorist attacks against the territory of Iran.
One more reason of annoying Assad consists in that he and his father have for decades been in a conflict with TURKEY - supporing the Kurdish Workers's Party (PKK) that fights for the rights of Kurds who live in Turkey.
And finally, Syria hosts the only maritime military base that RUSSIA has in the Mediterranean. So the plan is (a) remove Assad, (b) install the Saudi-backed terrorists, and (c) the latter will expell the Russian base.
Thus, in the UNLIKELY case if the US and NATO manage to remove Assad - they will, so to speak, "kill three flies with one single blow": (a) weakening IRAN, (b) strenghtening TURKEY, (c) expelling RUSSIAn fleet from the Mediterranian.
And , of course, what is better to justify all of the above than talking about "human rights" in Syria, while torturing people in Guantanamo and killing civilians in Afghanistan?

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
April 14, 2012 07:41
Not so fast, Annan!

You already forced Georgian home guard withdraw
from Georgian Abkhazia - genuine Georgian land of Svanians,
Mengrelians, Lasicans, other mixed Georgians, Sinigians and
Apsilians - in favor of 10% minority in 10% of land in Northern
Abkhazia, once Apsilians, mixed since Lenin invasion and
genocide on Sochi's and North Abkhazia's Georgians with
Cossacks, coarsed Sam, Gad and Afro-Pechenega
from South Russia!

Georgian Home Guard left, Russia blowed bridges
on Inguri and unleashed genocide, killing or expelling
magority, Georgians - now annexing it for Russia!

It is the same race game, Annan!
Part-Neanderthal Russian, pseudo-Muslim brotherhood
that promissed Halifat-Empire by imperial resurectors of
Russian, British and Germano-Austrian empires - using missguided by them USA, NATO and eager to play role
Obama and Annan - might lead to the same result as in
Abkhazia!

Syrians must follow UN resolutions, but logicly, according
to international tradition and practice - step by step,
confirming both sides compliance.

Is it new interpretation of tradition and UN Charter?
If Russian, British or Germano-Austrian liers rediculously
invent Kohlmeyer's "theory" that Georgia, or Syria for that
matter, belonged once to Chaldeo-African Neanderthals,
makes it them "Revolutionary-Liberators" that keep arms,
while legitimate nation must desarm adn die?

Look at pictures in: "www.WorldFreedomAndTruth.info"...

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