DAMASCUS: Kofi Annan said he had constructive talks in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who said the UN peace envoy’s plan to end 16 months of bloodshed was being undermined by US political support for “terrorists”.
Later yesterday Annan was expected to head for Iran for talks with Syria’s main ally in the region.
“I just had a positive and constructive discussion with President Assad,” the UN special envoy said. “We agreed an approach which I will share with the opposition.”
Once again, Annan stressed the important of halting violence and promoting political dialogue – the key points of the plan he put forward in April.
Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi tweeted: “In both meetings we reassured Annan of Syria’s commitment to implement the 6-points plan and hoped other side is mutually committed.”
In a television interview aired on Sunday, Assad accused Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, as well as the US, of supplying arms and logistical support to the rebels trying to overthrow him.
“We know that (Annan) is coming up against countless obstacles but his plan should not be allowed to fail, it is a very good plan,” he told Germany’s ARD network. “The main obstacle (is) that many countries don’t want (it) to succeed. So they offer political support and they still send armaments and send money to terrorists in Syria,” Assad said, according to a transcript of the interview.
Syria, led by members of a sect related to Shia Islam, has claimed that the Sunni-led Gulf monarchies are supporting unrest among its Sunni majority as a way to check rising Shia influence in the region, most notably that of Iran.
Anti-Assad activists in Syria reported army shelling and clashes with rebels in Homs, Aleppo and Damascus yesterday. – Reuters