UN's Ban pushes Annan Syria plan at Arab summit

By REUTERS
March 29, 2012 09:44

 
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BAGHDAD - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met Arab leaders in Baghdad on Thursday to discuss a UN-backed peace plan for Syria as President Bashar Assad's forces continued their offensive against cities and towns across Syria.

Regional leaders in Iraq for the Arab League summit have endorsed special envoy Kofi Annan's six-point plan that calls for a ceasefire and peace talks, but they remain sharply split over how to deal with the violence that risks deepening sectarian divisions.

Syria has accepted Annan's proposal, but rejects any initiatives taken by the summit and said it would deal only with individual Arab states, complicating efforts to implement the UN-backed peace plan on the ground.

"This is an important initial step that could bring an end to the violence and the bloodshed," Ban said of Syria's accepting Annan's plan, before arriving in Baghdad on Thursday.

"I strongly urge President Assad of Syria to put those commitments into immediate effect."

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