Annan Urges End to Bloodshed, Opposition Calls on Assad to Step Down

Posted on: May 30, 2012 at 23:42
U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan on Wednesday said the situation in Syria is ''complex'' and urged an intensification of international efforts to end bloodshed that has killed thousands of people.

''The Syrian issue is complex, and the world is closely following developments there,'' Annan told Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh during a meeting in Amman.

''We need to work hard and do our utmost to find a solution to this crisis and end the suffering of Syrian people, who should have priority in all efforts exerted,'' a foreign ministry statement quoted Annan as saying.

He added that ''intensified international efforts are needed to face the situation in Syria and find ways to end the killings there.''

Annan, who arrived in Jordan from neighboring Syria on a two-day trip, is due to meet King Abdullah II on Thursday, government officials said.

While in Damascus, the peace envoy met Syrian President Bashar Assad, urging him to take immediate steps to end 15 months of bloodshed and warning the country has reached a ''tipping point.''

The main opposition coalition said on Wednesday that Assad must step down if Annan’s peace plan is to be saved.

''An international understanding for Assad's stepping-down is the only way to save Annan's plan and the political solution; otherwise the situation is on the verge of explosion and will threaten the entire region,'' said Syrian National Council chief Burhan Ghalioun.

The SNC said that Russia's position on the Syrian crisis is encouraging the regime of Assad to commit ''savage crimes.”

''Russia has chosen to join ranks with the Syrian regime and to provide it with political cover ... encouraging it to continue committing savage crimes that target civilians, including women and children,'' it said.

The SNC condemned Russia for ''trying to prevent an international condemnation'' from being issued against Assad's regime.

Western nations -- the European Union, the United States and other governments including Australia, Canada and Switzerland -- have ordered out Syria's top diplomats after the killing of at least 108 people, nearly half of them children, during an assault by pro-government forces last week.

More than 13,000 people have been killed, most of them civilians, since the uprising against Assad's regime erupted in March last year, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Amman government says around 120,000 Syrians have fled to Jordan since the uprising began.

Source:Agence France Presse
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