Syria agrees to April 10 peace deadline: Kofi Annan
United Nations: UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has asked the UN Security Council for support in implementing an April 10 deadline for Syria to partially implement his peace plan, with a full ceasefire within 48 hours thereafter, envoys said on Monday.
Annan told the 15-nation council behind closed doors that Syria has agreed to the idea of such a deadline, which would include the end of troop movements toward population centers, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and a start to the withdrawal of troops, UN diplomats said on condition of anonymity.
So far, however, there has been no sign of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad keeping his promise to implement Annan`s six-point peace plan, which calls for an end to violence and political dialogue between the government and opposition aimed at a "political transition" for the country.
There is "no progress on the ground," a diplomat inside the meeting said in a summary of Annan`s remarks.
Despite the lack of progress, Annan suggested to the council there may be the beginnings of a plan to end the year-long conflict and he urged council members to "begin consideration of deployment of an observer mission with a broad and flexible mandate," a diplomat said.
The UN peace keeping department has already begun contingency planning for a UN ceasefire monitoring mission that would have 200 to 250 unarmed observers. Such a mission would require a Security Council resolution.
It was not immediately clear how Russia was responding to Annan`s suggestions. Russia and China vetoed two council resolutions condemning Assad`s assault on pro-democracy demonstrations, which were inspired by other "Arab Spring" uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.
The United Nations says Syrian soldiers and security forces have killed more than 9,000 people over the past 12 months. Damascus says rebels have killed 3,000 troops and police.
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