Al-Assad promises to end violence in Syria
Syrian President al-Assad proposes a new solution to the crisis that has wrecked the country. AFP photoSyrian President Bashar al-Assad has suggested ending Syria’s conflict on a step-by-step basis, starting with districts that have suffered the worst violence, international mediator Kofi Annan said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters after talks in Iran, Annan said al-Assad had proposed “building an approach from the ground up in some of the districts where we have extreme violence - to try and contain the violence in those districts and, step by step, build up and end the violence across the country.” Annan said he needed to discuss the proposal with the Syrian opposition and could not give further details. It was not clear how or where he planned to do this with opposition leaders.
For its part, Iran reaffirmed its full support to Annan’s peace plan aimed at ending the Syria crisis, saying that the plan should be fully implemented to restore stability. “We expect that Mr. Annan will continue his efforts to bring about stability and peace in Syria and the region,” Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said at a joint news conference. Annan reiterated his wish that Iran be involved in a solution to the crisis. “Iran can play a positive role,” he said, adding he would continue to work with the Iranian leadership to resolve the crisis
After talks with Salehi, Annan flew to Baghdad. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Annan will meet with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to discuss ways to end the bloodshed in neighboring Syria. Annan will then present the conclusions of his tour to the U.N. Security Council in New York today, according to the French Foreign Ministry. The Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition umbrella group in exile, will also hold talks today with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Compiled from Reuters and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.