Annan to push for Syria ‘approach’

Annan to push for Syria ‘approach’

Annan to push for Syria ‘approach’

Annan (L) and al-Assad hold a meeting in Damascus (inset). AFP Photo

International envoy Kofi Annan said he agreed with President Bashar al-Assad yesterday on a new political “approach” to end Syria’s 16-month-old conflict, which he will not put to the rebels.

Stepping up efforts to halt the carnage in Syria, which monitors say has cost more than 17,000 lives, the U.N.-Arab League envoy was reportedly set to travel on to Iran, Syria’s close ally. “We discussed the need to end the violence and ways and means of doing so. We agreed on an approach that I will share with the armed opposition,” Annan said after meeting al-Assad in Damascus.

Annan leaves for Tehran

After the talks, Annan left Damascus for Tehran later yesterday, Iranian state TV said yesterday. “I am here to discuss the situation in Syria ... and to see how we can work together to help settle the situation in Syria,” Annan’s spokesman Ahmad Fawzi reported him as saying on arrival in Tehran.

The former U.N. chief said he had a “constructive” meeting with al-Assad, on his third such mission for talks on his six-point peace plan for Syria since he was appointed in February. “I had constructive and candid talks with President al-Assad,” he told reporters at a Damascus hotel, echoing Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi, who termed the meeting “constructive and good.” “In both meetings we reassured Annan of Syria’s commitment to implement the six-point plan and expressed our hope that the other side was also committed,” Makdissi said.

Al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the government, said the Annan-Assad talks focused on the results of the Geneva meeting of an international contact group on Syria at the end of June, where world powers agreed on a plan for a transition plan for the restive country.

Compiled from AFP, AP and Reuters reports by the Daily News staff.

Assad rejects Gadhafi’s fate

DAMASCUS - The Associated Press

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he does not fear that he might share the fate of the Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, killed after capture, or Hosni Mubarak, the toppled Egyptian president sentenced to life imprisonment.

“It’s a completely different situation,”al-Assad said in an interview with Germany’s ARD network aired on July 8, when asked if he feared that he might share the fate of Gadhafi, who was killed shortly after his capture. “What’s happening in Egypt is different from what is happening in Syria ... You cannot compare,” he added. Al-Assad accused the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar of backing “terrorists” trying to topple his government, and said he was still in power because he had the support of his people.

The U.S. is partnering with those “terrorists ... with weapons, money or public and political support at the United Nations,” Assad said. “They offer the umbrella and political support to those gangs to ... destabilize Syria.”