Western powers 'sceptical' over Syria peace move
Published: 27th Mar 2012 23:30:16
Western powers have reacted sceptically to Syria's acceptance of the peace plan put forward by UN envoy Kofi Annan.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said President Bashar al-Assad would be judged by events.
"Given Assad's history of over-promising and under-delivering, that commitment must now be matched by immediate actions," she said.
Earlier the UN said more than 9,000 people have now died since the Syria uprising started a year ago.
"If he is ready to bring this dark chapter in Syria's history to a close he can prove it by immediately ordering regime forces to stop firing and begin withdrawing from populated areas," Mrs Clinton said.
Other Western powers have made similar comments.
Mrs Clinton also said President Assad must allow in humanitarian aid and start preparing for a democratic transition.
And she said opposition groups "must come forward with a unified position, a vision of the kind of Syria they are wishing to build".
Opposition factions meeting in Istanbul have called on Syria to withdraw its tanks, to show it is serious about accepting Annan's proposals, Agence France-Presse has reported.
The BBC correspondent at the gathering says he has not met a single delegate who thinks the president is even remotely sincere, and Mr Assad's opponents would never accept any deal allowing him to remain in power.
Most opposition groups have now agreed to name the Syrian National Council as the formal representative of the Syrian people.
But our correspondent says their disunity was openly on display, with constant disputes and walkouts.
Mr Annan's spokesman Ahmed Fawzi said he considered the Syrian acceptance of the peace plan as "important initial step" to help bring an end to the violence, but added that implementation was key.
Mr Annan thanked countries that have supported his attempts to mediate in the conflict. He is currently in Beijing for talks with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
1. Syrian-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Syrian people
2. UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties to protect civilians
3. All parties to ensure provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting, and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause
4. Authorities to intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons
5. Authorities to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists
6. Authorities to respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully
The six-point plan calls for Mr Assad's government to pull troops and heavy weapons out of population centres, and for all parties to allow for a daily two-hour pause to the fighting in order for humanitarian aid to reach affected areas. The plan also requests that the authorities release those detained in the uprising.
However, it does not impose any deadline for Mr Assad, or call for him to leave power.
The BBC's Barbara Plett at the UN says despite the scepticism, this is a new situation because it is the first strategy for ending the conflict that has the backing of the entire Security Council, including Syria's allies Russia and China.
She says it seems it was this international unity which forced Bashar al Assad to accept the plan.
Mr Annan has written to Mr Assad urging him to put his commitments into immediate effect.
the BBC's Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen says the agreement is not as strongly worded as earlier UN resolutions, but it can be regarded as more pressure on Mr Assad and his government, which he seems to have decided that he cannot ignore.
However, implementing the plan is another matter, our correspondent adds.
At 07:02:20 in SportEngland manager Roy Hodgson has given encouragement to Jonjo Shelvey and his Swansea City team-mates that they remain in contention for a call-up.
At 06:53:10 in WalesBarack Obama will become the first serving US president to visit Wales when he arrives in Newport for the Nato summit later.
At 06:51:24 in Northern IrelandHe demands a great performance, an exciting ear, a good pair of legs and, above all, likes a mesmerising mover. And there's not a pair of high-waisted trousers in sight!
At 06:45:31 in SportRobert Dunlop didn't get away with it. Not this time. So here he is, dying on the side of a road. Just like older brother Joey, eight years earlier. Local heroes - united by blood, glory on two wheels and the violence of their endings.
At 06:43:40 in Northern IrelandA man has been left shaken after a shooting incident at a house in Ballymoney in County Antrim on Tuesday evening.
At 06:35:30 in EnglandA new memorial is to be created in Guernsey to honour soldiers who lost their lives in World War One.
At 06:23:24 in Northern IrelandPat Gallagher is preparing to welcome visitors to Ireland, but he has no plans to dress up for the occasion.
At 06:17:57 in Northern IrelandThe Northern Ireland health minister, Edwin Poots, has given dire warnings about what could happen to services if his department does not get another £160m.
At 06:12:31 in Northern IrelandSecretary of State Theresa Villiers will give evidence later in front of MPs investigating the issuing of letters to "on the run" paramilitaries.
At 06:08:23 in Northern IrelandNorthern Ireland's health minister and chief medical officer are expected to appear before an emergency meeting of the health committee later.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Western powers 'sceptical' over Syria peace move [Online] (Updated 27th Mar 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1419106/Western-powers-sceptical-over-Syria-peace-move [Accessed 3rd Sep 2014]
News In Other Categories
Workers decommissioning Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant have sued its operator Tokyo Electric (Tepco) over unpaid hazard wages.
The mayor of the northern French city of Calais has threatened to block the port unless Britain does more to control the number of illegal migrants.
England manager Roy Hodgson has given encouragement to Jonjo Shelvey and his Swansea City team-mates that they remain in contention for a call-up.
The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has urged both sides in the referendum debate to treat each other with respect.
A new memorial is to be created in Guernsey to honour soldiers who lost their lives in World War One.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com