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Int'l community steps up pressure on violence-ridden Syria

06-06-2012 17:36 BJT Special Report:Crisis in Syria |

DAMASCUS, June 6 (Xinhua) -- The international community has been stepping up efforts to put an end to the violence in Syria after the Houla massacre shocked the world.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is in Beijing for a state visit to China and the 12th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), on Tuesday called along with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao on the international community to continue supporting UN-Arab League Joint Envoy Kofi Annan's mediation efforts and the work of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) to end the violence in Syria.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Tuesday that the withdrawal of the "Free Syrian Army" from the ceasefire was "impermissible" and "dangerous."

The Syrian opposition announced Monday they were no longer committed to Annan's peace plan and resumed attacks on some checkpoints, as they believed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had failed to observe the Friday deadline that they had set to end the violence.

"We view this as the wish to thwart international efforts in the promotion of a shift from confrontation to the political process. We continue to call on the Syrian sides and the external forces to stick to the logic of the Annan plan," Lukashevich said.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, a U.S. delegation headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's deputy would visit Russia this week to discuss the Syrian crisis.

Also on Tuesday, Turkey renewed its call for concerted international pressure to stop the Syrian administration's alleged violent crackdown on civilian protesters, the Turkish semi-official Anatolia News Agency reported.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the Syrian president was taking advantage of the weakness of the international community to buy time to push ahead with even more violent attacks.

It was reported that Clinton, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and ministers from some 30 countries would meet in Turkey on Thursday at an anti-terror forum, whose subjects include the situation in Syria.

Though the international community is trying to revive Annan's plan, there are still some doubts.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Tuesday that the Gulf Arab states have begun to lose hope in Annan's peace plan, urging Russia to change its stance on Syria and work to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.

Al-Faisal said during a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting that "The time has come for Russia to change its stance from supporting the Syrian regime to working to stop the killing and (supporting) a peaceful transition of power."

He "hoped Russia would re-evaluate its policies in the region, especially with regard to Syria."

"We have begun to lose hope in the possibility of reaching a solution ... within this framework ...the UN Security Council is responsible for its duties ... to take the appropriate measures to ensure the immediate application of the joint envoy's (plan), including resorting to article 7 in the charter (which could authorize the use of force)," he said.

As a positive response to international humanitarian efforts, Syria has agreed to expand the presence of nine UN humanitarian agencies in key areas.

John Ging, director of the Coordination and Response Division of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said "Whether this is a breakthrough or not will be evident in the coming days and weeks, and it will be measured not in the agreements, but in action on the ground."

Meanwhile, in retaliation to similar moves by some European countries towards Syria's envoys, the Syrian foreign ministry on Tuesday declared that diplomats from the United States, Britain, Germany, France and Italy are "persona non grata."

The security situation in Syria still remains a cause of great concern. On Tuesday, Syrian troops clashed with armed rebels in a number of areas across the country, killing and injuring an unspecified number of people.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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