Annan says Syria agrees to April 10 peace deadline
The online news portal of TV5
UNITED NATIONS - Kofi Annan asked the UN Security Council to back an April 10 deadline for partial implementation of his peace plan for Syria, telling its members that Syria had agreed to the date, diplomats said on Monday.
The UN-Arab League peace envoy told the council behind closed doors that troops would stop entering Syrian towns and that there would be a withdrawal of heavy weapons and the start of a troop pullout.
Annan met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on March 10 and presented him with a six-point plan calling for the military pullout. His spokesman said one week ago that Assad had accepted the terms, adding that the "the deadline is now".
One diplomat said Annan confirmed to council members that there had been "no progress on the ground" towards halting the violence, which continues with daily reports of army shelling and shooting, and clashes with the rebel Free Syrian Army.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based activist operation which collates reports from around Syria, reported 70 people killed on Sunday, including 12 civilian victims of shelling and sniper fire in Homs.
At least 35 people were killed on Monday, SOHR said, including eight soldiers and nine rebels. Ten civilians were killed on Monday in the central province of Homs.
In Syria's second city of Aleppo, a bomb blast at a kiosk killed the owner, an Assad supporter, it said. At least five people were killed and eight wounded in army bombardments of villages in northern Idlib province, which borders Turkey.
Turkish officials said refugees were crossing the border at a rate of around 400 a day. Over 40,000 Syrians have taken refuge in neighboring countries since the unrest broke out a year ago, according to UN figures.
FSA rebels have said they will stop shooting if the army pulls heavy weaponry out of cities. But the Assad government has said it must maintain security in urban areas and there has been no sign of tanks, armor or artillery moving out.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at a Friends of Syria conference with Assad's opponents in Istanbul on Sunday, said Assad had a long list of broken promises behind him and would face serious consequences if he did not halt actions targeting civilians.
"In the case of Bosnia, the international community was too slow therefore we lost many people," he said. "In the case of Syria we have to act without delay."