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article imageAnnan demands Syrian government begins ceasefire 'now'

By Layne Weiss     Mar 30, 2012 in World
Geneva - According to BBC News, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, expects the Syrian government to implement his six-point peace plan immediately.
"The deadline is now," Ahmed Fawzi, Annan's spokesman, told reporters in Geneva.
Fawzi said Annan believes that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be the first to set a ceasefire. "We expect him to implement this plan immediately," Fawzi said, according to CBS News.
"Clearly we have not seen a cessation of hostilities, and this is of great concern.
In addition to a cease fire, Annan's plan also calls for a withdrawal of troops and their weaponry from cities, as well as humanitarian aid, and free movement for journalists, BBC News reports.
According to Mr. Fawzi, Kofi Annan also believes that once a ceasefire is in place, rebels can "lay down their arms, and start talking."
Annan's plan calls for the government to "withdraw its troops, to cease using heavy weapons in populated city centers," Mr Fawzi said.
"We are appealing to the stronger party to make a gesture of good faith and stop the killing," Fawzi said. "We are certain that if that happens, the opposition will follow suit."
According to Reuters, Annan's plan also requires armed-rebels to cease fire as well, but the Free Syrian Army has not voiced its support for Annan's proposals. Other political opposition groups have also not made it clear whether they accept Annan's call for talks with President Assad.
Regarding talks with Assad, An activist who called himself Abu Mohammed said, "Let's not get ahead of ourselves. First, we want to see that the bloodbath ends."
Mr. Mohammed seemed rather skeptical that there would be peace in Syria.
Fighting erupted Friday between rebels and solders, CBS News reports.
Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad promised that his government would exhaust all efforts in ensuring Annan's peace plan was successful. He also, demanded, however, that his armed opponents stop their end of the violence.
Thursday also saw a meeting in Baghdad where Arab leaders called for Mr. Annan's plan to be put into action "immediately and completely," BBC News reports.
"The solution to the crisis is still in the hands of the Syrians as a government and opposition," Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi said at the meeting.
Kofi Annan will visit Tehran and Riyadh soon, Mr Fawzi revealed, but no details have been given as to when these visits will take place.
Meanwhile, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in Riyadh Friday to discuss the Syrian crisis, Reuters reports.
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