US, Gulf Arabs urge Annan to draw up Syria `next steps`
Riyadh: The United States and Gulf Arab
states on Saturday urged envoy Kofi Annan to produce a "timeline for
next steps" in his peace plan for Syria if President Bashar
al-Assad fails to stop the bloodshed.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who met her
counterparts from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the
United Arab Emirates and Oman at a meeting in Riyadh, voiced
concern over Syria`s continued deadly crackdown on dissent.
She also slammed Iran for its alleged support for the
crackdown and appeared cautious about talks between Tehran and
the United States and five other powers that she confirmed
would be held in Istanbul on April 13.
In a press conference, Clinton voiced renewed scepticism
about Syria`s acceptance of Annan`s six-point peace plan,
which calls on Syrian forces to withdraw from besieged cities
and silence their guns.
"And as of today, regime forces continue to shell
civilians, lay siege to neighbourhoods, and even target places
of worship," Clinton said on the eve of international talks in
Istanbul aimed at helping the Syrian opposition.
Clinton said dozens of top Arab and Western officials
tomorrow would discuss further steps to pressure Assad, to
provide humanitarian aid and promote "an inclusive,
democratic" political transition.
The first US strategic cooperation forum with the six Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) countries issued a joint statement
urging Annan "to determine a timeline for next steps if the
Annan`s plan calls for a commitment to stop all armed
violence, a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire, media
access to all areas affected by the fighting, an inclusive
Syrian-led political process, a right to demonstrate, and
release of arbitrarily detained people.
In a speech to the forum, Clinton stressed Washington`s
"rock solid and unwavering" commitment to the security of the
Sunni Muslim-led Gulf Arab monarchies, which are wary of
non-Arab Shiite Muslim Iran.
Raising security ties from a bilateral to a multilateral
level, Clinton was breaking new ground in taking part in the
first strategic cooperation forum between Washington and the
She looked to taking "practical and specific steps to
strengthen our mutual security, such as helping our militaries
improve interoperability, cooperate on maritime security and
missile defence, and coordinate responses to crises."
US officials have said it is a US "priority" to help the
GCC build a "regional missile defence architecture" against
what they see as a looming ballistic missile threat from Iran.
Download the all new Zee News app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with latest headlines and news stories in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, Business and much more from India and around the world.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- I am surviving only on 25% of my liver today, says Big B
- Aamir Khan's 'intolerance' comment kicks up row
- Exclusive: Sudhir Chaudhary in conversation with Aamir Khan on intolerance in India!
- Panel discussion on Aamir Khan's remark on 'intolerance'
- Rahul Gandhi spotted with hate speech convict Imran Masood in Saharanpur
- Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh bypoll results: As it happened on November 24
- Intolerance issue: When did ‘Incredible India’ become ‘Intolerant India’, Anupam Kher asks Aamir Khan
- Tirupati, Tirumala rains update: Temple remains open; pilgrims continue to pour in for darshan
- BJP's big poser to Aamir Khan: Is there any better neighbour for Muslims than a Hindu?
- Muslim leader Asaduddin Owaisi says Aamir Khan wrong in wanting to leave India