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Security Council Urges Syria Ceasefire by Thursday

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The United Nations Security Council called on the Syrian government to stick to the Six-Point plan and cease hostilities by Thursday, April 12, the U.S. envoy to the UN told reporters.

The United Nations Security Council called on the Syrian government to stick to the Six-Point plan and cease hostilities by Thursday, April 12, the U.S. envoy to the UN told reporters.

Damascus has earlier agreed to implement the Six-Point Plan by the UN and Arab League special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, which stipulates the withdrawal of Syrian government forces and heavy weaponry from towns and cities by Tuesday and the implementation of a nationwide ceasefire by April 12. That deadline has now passed.

U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Susan Rice, who is also the Council’s president this month, said member states underscored “their deep concern at the state of implementation of the Syrian government’s immediate obligations.”

She also said the Security Council might soon face a “moment of truth” to decide on whether to increase the pressure on the President Bashar al-Asad regime through collective action.

“The Syrian leadership should now seize the opportunity to make a fundamental change of course,” she said. “It’s essential that the next 48 hours bring visible signs of immediate and indisputable change in the military posture of the Government forces throughout the country.”

“The cessation of violence in all its forms is a first but essential step. It must not be delayed by new conditions. Violence must stop now,” Rice said.

Earlier on Tuesday Annan said he believed that the plan might still be implemented, the UN News Centre reported.

“I believe it’s a bit too early to say that the plan has failed,” the envoy said. “The plan is still on the table and it’s a plan we are all fighting to implement. It’s a plan the Council has endorsed, a plan the Syrians have endorsed, and from the comments made by the opposition they are also prepared to go along with it if the Government meets its commitments to pull the troops out. So the plan is very much alive.”

Annan arrived in Tehran on Tuesday night for talks with Iranian officials on the Syrian crisis, The Tehran Times reported. The UN and Arab League envoy is to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on Wednesday.

Iran has repeatedly expressed support for the government of Bashar al-Assad. In late March Iranian supreme leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei said that his country “will protect” Syria.

Some 9,000 people have been killed in clashes between the government and the opposition in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011, according to UN estimates.

And violence spread into neighboring Turkey and Lebanon for the first time on Monday, as Syrian forces fired across borders, killing three people.

 

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