'Friends of Syria' to send aid in 48 hours if assault stops

February 24, 2012 11:47

BEIRUT - Western and Arab powers meeting in Tunis on Friday will demand Syrian authorities allow immediate access for aid to the cities of Homs, Deraa, Zabadani "and other areas under siege", according to an updated draft declaration obtained by Reuters.

The draft conclusion of the conference also calls on Damascus "immediately to cease all violence" and pledges to deliver humanitarian supplies within 48 hours if Syria "stopped its assault on civilian areas and permitted access".

The meeting in Tunisia, the country where the Arab Spring erupted more than a year ago, brings together foreign ministers from more than 50 countries in the first gathering of the "Friends of Syria" after almost a year of protests against the rule of President Bashar Assad.

The group includes the United States, European Union countries and Arab and Muslim nations. Russia and China, which have both vetoed measures against Damascus at the United Nations, are not attending.

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