Annan urges April 10 deadline for Syria plan

Annan urges April 10 deadline for Syria plan

U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has asked the U.N. Security Council for support in implementing an April 10 deadline for Syria to partially implement his peace plan, with a full ceasefire within 48 hours thereafter, envoys said yesterday.

Annan told the 15-nation council behind closed doors that Syria has agreed to the idea of such a deadline, which would include the end of troop movements toward population centers, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and a start to the withdrawal of troops, U.N. diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

So far, however, there has been no sign of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad keeping his promise to implement Annan’s six-point peace plan, which calls for an end to violence and political dialogue between the government and opposition aimed at a “political transition” for the country. There is “no progress on the ground,” a diplomat inside the meeting told Reuters in a summary of Annan’s remarks. Despite the lack of progress, Annan suggested to the council there may be the beginnings of a plan to end the year-long conflict and he urged council members to “begin consideration of deployment of an observer mission with a broad and flexible mandate,” a diplomat said.

The U.N. peace keeping department has already begun contingency planning for a U.N. ceasefire monitoring mission that would have 200 to 250 unarmed observers. Such a mission would require a Security Council resolution.

Six-point plan

Annan has proposed a six-point plan to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on halting the more than a year of violence which the UN says has left more than 9,000 dead. Assad has accepted the plan but death toll has continued to mount. More attacks were reported in Homs and other cities on Monday, and there are new signs of international divisions on Syria. Arab nations have called for a deadline for Assad to implement the plan but Russia, Syria’s main ally, has rejected this.