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Syrian ceasefire first Step of Annan's plan: US

United States America,Diplomacy, Fri, 13 Apr 2012 IANS

Washington, April 13 (IANS/RIA Novosti) US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has welcomed the ceasefire in Syria while saying it is only a "first step" in the implementation of Kofi Annan's plan.


The six-point plan, proposed by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and approved by the UN Security Council, includes a pullback of troops from the cities, a halt to fighting, the release of unjustly arrested people, and respect for the people's right to peaceful protest and for press freedom.


Clinton, who spoke after a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in Washington, said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad can not "pick and choose" what part of the plan he wants to accept and implement.


She urged the Syrian government to withdraw troops from all cities and accept a transition of political power.


The UN-backed Syrian ceasefire plan appeared to take hold Thursday, lifting hopes for an end to the deadly clashes between opposition and pro-government forces that have killed over 9,000 people in the past year.


Annan negotiated a ceasefire last month, which both parties reluctantly agreed to support.


--IANS/RIA Novosti




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