News

Annan: Syria Accepts Six-Point Peace Plan

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, left, meets with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, March 27, 2012.
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, left, meets with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, March 27, 2012.
Margaret Besheer

U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria Kofi Annan says the Syrian government accepted his six-point peace plan for ending the year-long crisis.  Mr. Annan called the move an “important initial step.”

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 10 people were killed on Tuesday, as government forces fired at civilians and battled rebels in several parts of the country, including the northwestern province of Idlib, the Damascus suburbs and the central city of Homs.

Syrian President Assad on Tuesday toured the former rebel stronghold of Baba Amr in Homs, the scene of a weeks-long siege by government forces. He was seen walking past ruined buildings and discussing reconstruction efforts.

Kofi Annan met with officials in Beijing Tuesday, following a stop in Moscow. He is talking with countries with influence in Damascus about how to stop the bloodshed that, according to the U.N., has claimed more than 9,000 lives.

In a statement Mr. Annan’s spokesman said the Syrian government had written to the joint envoy accepting his peace plan, which received unanimous backing from the U.N. Security Council last week. Mr. Annan stressed that “implementation will be key.”

The plan calls for a U.N.-monitored stop to the violence, access for humanitarian aid workers, and an inclusive Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, multi-party political system.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, who holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency this month, said the 15-nation body hopes to hear more on the details directly from Mr. Annan soon.  “Well, obviously, this is potentially a significant step and we are exploring the possibility of Kofi Annan coming to brief the Security Council later this week or early next week," he said.

French Ambassador Gérard Araud expressed some skepticism, referring to the old adage about “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” - meaning the Syrian response would be judged in the final result.

German Ambassador Peter Wittig was also restrained in his optimism. “Well it might turn out to be a first step in the right direction, but of course we have to remain cautious. Syria has in the past a history of credibility gaps," he said.

A member of the exiled opposition Syrian National Council responded to Syria's acceptance of the Annan peace plan by reiterating a demand for Assad to resign, a condition that is not part of the initiative. Ausama Monajed says that unless the Syrian president hands power to a deputy to negotiate with the opposition, any talks will be a "waste of time" and lead to more casualties.

Analysts say that Syrian acceptance of the Annan plan is an important first step, but implementation is key.

George Washington University International Relations professor Edmund Ghareeb said the Annan plan’s points, such as calling for dialogue and demanding both sides stop the violence, and its lack of any call for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, could be viewed as closer to the Syrian government’s position.

“I think they realize that both the United States and Russia have agreed to support the Annan mission and that this may be the last opportunity to reach a peaceful, diplomatic way out of the current impasse. So a great deal is going to depend on the implementation and what happens next, as well as the reactions of other players in the region and within the Syrian opposition," he said.

But senior adviser on Middle East initiatives at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Steve Heydemann, notes that President Assad has agreed to other peace initiatives before and then not implemented them. He said such a pattern does not bode well for Mr. Annan’s efforts.

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.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: CHETA OBIANEFO
March 28, 2012 6:20 AM
Honestly, Assad deserves the Ghadafi treatment. The guy is terribly bloody.

by: Boško Barac
March 27, 2012 12:18 PM
Care for peace also in Palestina!
UN and USA can help also there!

by: ANNA AIELLO
March 27, 2012 9:15 AM
please ...if u can read this than please we need ur prayers!!!the Our Father
together with reciting the Holy Rosary will help those people!!I m imploring
u, pleas if u know the Rosary pray it..(ask THE Mother Of God n Jeasus
what it is u want @ the beginning of Each Mistery)it will be heard!!!Let s stop
the Slaughtering of THousand of lives with our prayers!!!!please do it.....
They want what we already have......

by: Fatimah
March 27, 2012 8:45 AM
It’s time for President Obama to face reality. Bashar Assad can’t be negotiated with. This is a dictatorship that has burned families alive. These criminals have lost touch with the suffering of ordinary Syrians while they are downloading their favorite songs from I-tunes. Either Obama takes real measures to remove Assad from Syria and create conditions on the ground for elections and democracy in Syria or he needs to tell the world that he is powerless to stop the genocide and terror in Syria.

by: Sanjay
March 27, 2012 6:41 AM
It is really sad to see how humans in most Countries have such little disrepect for human life and this includes Government officials who creat all this tension amongst the people. In Africa it is worse.

by: J Edgar
March 27, 2012 5:42 AM
"An end to autocratic rule" in Syria! Will there follow an end to autocratic rule in Saudi Arabia etc etc in due course?

by: conor
March 27, 2012 5:38 AM
I think that it is just sad that this is happening not just in syria but every were us humans are angry and viloent race and untill this changes there will allways be war people you dont have to be all hippy like but if people just used there brains more this world would be a great place to live

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs