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`Syria lied to Annan, flouting agreed peace plan`

France has charged that the Syrian regime had lied to UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan over complying with a peace plan.

Paris: France has charged that the Syrian
regime had lied to UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan over complying with a peace plan and was flouting the commitments it undertook as part of the deal.

President "Bashar al-Assad has lied to Kofi Annan,"
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in a statement yesterday.

"Not only has the firing of heavy weapons not ceased, not
only is the freeing of political prisoners minimal compared
with the scale of the repression, not only is Damascus now attacking its neighbours, but what has been presented as a (troop) withdrawal is nothing but a thinly disguised redeployment."
Juppe said he would bring up the Syrian question at a
meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Washington today, and Paris
will insist ""that on April 12 the Security Council draw all
the conclusions from this situation and consider what new
measures are necessary to put an end to the violence and start
a political dialogue."

The French foreign minister was reacting to a letter that
Annan had sent to the UN Security Council earlier in the day
in which he said that Assad had failed to send the required
"signal of peace."

Annan called for the Syrian president to undertake a
"fundamental change of course" so that a complete ceasefire
takes hold on the ground by April 12 as called for in Annan`s

The Council later supported Annan`s plea for new backing,
calling on Assad to keep to the Thursday deadline for a
complete ceasefire.

"It is essential that the next 48 hours bring visible
signs of immediate and indisputable change in the military
posture of the government forces throughout the country" as
set out in Annan`s six-point plan, said a statement read out
by US ambassador Susan Rice.

More than 50 people, 28 of them civilians, died yesterday
as Syrian forces pounded protest hubs on the day the army was
to have withdrawn its troops under Annan`s plan.


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