Annan says agreement reached with Assad

Last Updated: Monday, July 9, 2012 - 19:49

Damascus: International envoy Kofi Annan raised hopes of a revived peace effort in Syria, saying he has reached a framework with President Bashar Assad and would hold talks with rebel leaders.

Annan was traveling to Damascus` key ally Iran later on Monday for talks with leaders there.

Annan is the architect of an international plan to end Syria`s 16-month-old crisis, which started with largely peaceful protests calling for reforms but has since transformed into a bloody insurgency to topple Assad.

With violence growing increasingly intense and diplomatic efforts faltering, Annan has said Iran must be a part of a solution to a conflict that activists say has killed at least 14,000 people.

"We agreed on an approach which I will share with the armed opposition," Annan told reporters following a two-hour meeting with Assad which he described as "candid and constructive."

"I also stressed the importance of moving ahead with a political dialogue which the president accepts," he said.

Annan did not disclose details of the framework he reached with Assad.

Iranian state TV said Annan will be traveling to Tehran for meetings later today.

In an interview with the French daily Le Monde on Saturday, Annan acknowledged that the international community`s efforts to find a political solution to the escalating violence in Syria have failed. He added that more attention needed to be paid to the role of longtime Syrian ally Iran, saying Tehran "should be part of the solution."

It is unclear what role Annan envisions for Iran, a staunch Syrian ally that has stood by Assad throughout the uprising. Tehran`s close ties could make it an interlocutor with the regime, though the US. Has often refused to let the Islamic Republic attend conferences about the Syria crisis.

PTI



First Published: Monday, July 9, 2012 - 19:49

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