Annan asks Syria to stop using heavy weapons

Annan asks Syria to stop using heavy weapons

GENEVA - Agence France-Presse
Annan asks Syria to stop using heavy weapons

UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan , listens during the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Arab League to discuss the situation in Syria taking place in Doha Tuesday 17, April 2012. AP Photo

UN envoy Kofi Annan today asked the Damascus regime and the opposition to immediately halt violence and the use of heavy weapons.

"I urge all forces whether governmental, opposition or others to put down their weapons and work with the United Nations monitors to consolidate the fragile cessation of violence in all its forms," Annan said in a statement. "The government in particular must desist from the use of heavy weapons and, as it has committed, withdraw such weapons and armed units from population centres and implement fully its commitments under the six-point plan." Annan welcomed a UN plan to send 300 unarmed ceasefire observers to Syria, saying: "The work of the mission should help create the conditions conducive to launching the much-needed political process, which would address the legitimate concerns and aspirations of the Syrian people.

"I call on the government and the opposition and all the people of Syria to prepare to engage in such a process as a matter of utmost priority." Only days after being deployed, the team of seven observers in Syria acknowledged they faced a tough task to firm up the ceasefire agreed to last week by embattled President Bashar al-Assad.

A spike in violence had already forced the Arab League to end its own Syrian monitoring mission in late January, barely a month after it was launched.

Annan, Syria