News

Annan Tries to Secure Chinese Support for Syria Plan

Kofi Annan, left, the United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria, arrives at the Great Hall of the People for talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing, China, March 27, 2012.
Kofi Annan, left, the United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria, arrives at the Great Hall of the People for talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing, China, March 27, 2012.

International peace envoy Kofi Annan is meeting with Chinese officials in Beijing as he tries to secure further support for his proposal to end violence in Syria, after winning the full backing of Russia.

The U.N. and Arab League envoy visited China's Foreign Ministry Tuesday, and is scheduled to meet with Premier Wen Jiabao later in the day.

Annan has proposed a six-point plan to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad calling on government forces and rebels to agree on a cease-fire and engage in dialogue. The blueprint, endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, does not include a Western and Arab demand for Assad to resign - a requirement that Russia and China oppose.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday the council's endorsement last week was a "very good step." She said the goal now is to make clear to Assad that he longer has "friends" to "protect him from the demands of the international community."

In Syria Monday, government security forces killed at least 19 people in attacks across the country,

Activists said government shells hit several parts of the central city of Homs as part of a daily assault on remaining centers of resistance. They said Assad's forces also carried out arrest raids throughout the country. Their reports could not be independently confirmed because Syria tightly restricts foreign reporting.

Meanwhile, Turkey suspended operations at its Damascus embassy, citing Syria's worsening security situation. Ankara's move further isolates President Assad and follows a recent series of embassy closures by Arab and Western nations critical of his violent crackdown on the revolt. Norway also said it is closing its embassy.

In Istanbul, Syrian opposition groups gathered Monday in a last-ditch attempt at forging a united front before a major conference April 1. Western and Arab nations calling themselves the "Friends of Syria" are due to meet in the Turkish city to discuss support for the Syrian opposition's struggle to end decades of autocratic rule.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will attend the conference after meeting Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and foreign ministers of five Gulf Arab states in Riyadh later this week. The State Department said Clinton's efforts at both gatherings will focus on ending Syria's bloodshed.

Also Monday, one of three investigators on a U.N. panel documenting crimes against humanity in Syria - including executions and torture - resigned in protest of the Syrian government's refusal to let them into the country. Yakin Erturk, a leading international rights expert, made clear her resignation is not a criticism of the panel, which she said has done everything possible to establish the kinds of crimes Mr. Assad's forces have committed over the past year.

Syria's state news agency SANA said the country's parliament has called on Mr. Assad to consider delaying parliamentary elections scheduled for May 7 in order to allow for the outcome of a "national dialogue."

The election is part of what the government calls a series of reforms based on a new constitution approved by referendum in February.

The United Nations says more than 8,000 people have been killed in the Syrian government's crackdown on the uprising during the past year. Damascus blames the violence on what it says are foreign-backed terrorists.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
Middle East Voices
. Follow our Middle East reports on
Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs