Syria agreed to ceasefire plan, says U.N. envoy Kofi Annan

Laura Rozen
The Envoy

Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan said Tuesday that Syria has agreed to a ceasefire plan, but some implementation details remain to be worked out. Annan, who's been tasked with mediating an end to the Syria violence, received U.N. Security Council backing last week for a six-point proposal to ease the crisis.

"I indicated that I had received a response from the Syrian government and will be making it public today, which is positive, and we hope to work with them to translate it into action," Annan told reporters in Beijing Tuesday after a meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Reuters reported.

"So we will need to see how we move ahead and implement this agreement that they have accepted," Annan said.

The U.N. Syria envoy was on a two-day trip to China after a similar trip to Moscow to try to get Russia and China to back the measure. Annan's six-point plan calls for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centers, access for the distribution of humanitarian assistance, the release of political prisoners and greater freedom of movement. It also asks the Syrian government and opposition to work with Annan on a political reconciliation plan.

Annan's remarks came as Syrian troops reportedly clashed with Syrian rebels in northern Lebanon, Reuters reported. Also on Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited the devastated Bab Amr neighborhood of the flashpoint city of Homs, which his troops have besieged with tanks and heavy weapons in recent weeks, Al-Jazeera reported.

On Sunday, President Barack Obama huddled with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to talk about the Syrian crisis, ahead of the nuclear security summit being held in Seoul, South Korea. The two leaders discussed providing Syrian opposition forces with nonlethal assistance, including communications equipment, reports said. Turkey, which shares a 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria, has taken in some 17,000 refugees from Syria in the yearlong crisis, which has killed more than 8,000 people.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to Turkey Saturday for the next "Friends of Syria" international contact group meeting.

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