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Syria demands "written assurances" to withdraw troops by April 10

04-08-2012 18:30 BJT Special Report:Crisis in Syria |

DAMASCUS, April 8 (Xinhua) --Syria's foreign ministry said the troops will not be withdrawn from cities before the UN and Arab League (AL) joint special envoy on Syria Kofi Annan presents a written guarantee that armed groups will get a position in tune with the government's pledge.

In a statement issued Sunday, the ministry said the discussions which Annan had made before the UN Security Council and the recent presidential statement were wrongly interpreted as that Syria has confirmed it will pull back its troops from the cities and their surroundings on April 10.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement to support the April 10 deadline for ceasefire on the part of the Syrian government to bring an early end to the year- long crisis in the country.

Kofi Annan said Thursday that "a cessation of violence is an important beginning" in bringing peace to Syria, calling on both the Syrian government and opposition to observe the time line to end fighting.

Annan's six-point plan calls for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from populated areas, a daily halt of fighting for the delivery of humanitarian aid and treatment of the wounded, and talks between the government and opposition.

"Annan has stressed that his mission starts from respecting the Syrian sovereignty and will work to halt violence with all its forms and from any party ... and that are the basis on which Syria has accepted his plan," said the ministry, adding that Syria undertook a number of steps to show its goodwill towards Annan's plan.

"Syria has informed Annan that the escalation of violent acts by armed terrorist groups has coincided with Syria's announcement about its approval of the plan," said the ministry.

It noted that Annan has failed so far to submit to the Syrian government "written assurances" by armed groups to halt violence with all its forms and their readiness to lay down weapons, and failed also to provide guarantees about Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia's commitment to halt finance and armament of terrorist groups.

The ministry said Syria won't repeat what had happened during the presence of the Arab observers' mission in Syria when it pulled back its armed troops from cities and their surroundings, giving the armed groups a chance to spread its elements and sway on a number of districts nationwide.

However, the ministry reasserted that Syria is ready to continue cooperation with Annan and will keep him informed of the undertaken steps to implement his plan, expressing hopes that it would get the authenticated assurances.

"Any flaw or misunderstanding of Syria's stance would not help in making Annan's mission a success," it said.

At the meantime, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Syrian troops have continued military operations in two towns in central and northern Syria on Sunday just days ahead of the UN brokered deadline to end Syria's prolonged crisis.

The operations took place in northwestern town of Jisr al- Shughour in Idlib province, near the Turkish borders, and the Khalidiyah neighborhood in central Homs province.

The opposition report couldn't be independently verified.

The UN estimated that more than 9,000 people have so far been killed in the Syrian conflict, including at least 500 children, while Syria says 6,044 have died, including 2,566 soldiers and police.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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