Kofi Annan said his main preoccupation was "the welfare of the Syrian people"
UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Kofi Annan readies to talk to reporters in Damascus. The international peace envoy said he handed over a set of "concrete proposals" aimed at defusing the Syria crisis during a second round of talks Sunday with President Bashar al-Assad. © Louai Beshara - AFP
Kofi Annan said his main preoccupation was
AFP
Last updated: March 11, 2012

Annan gives Assad concrete proposals to end crisis

International peace envoy Kofi Annan said he handed over a set of "concrete proposals" aimed at defusing the Syria crisis during a second round of talks Sunday with President Bashar al-Assad.

"I presented a set of concrete proposals which would have a real impact on the situation on the ground and which will help launch a process aimed at putting an end to this crisis," he told reporters after the meeting.

"Our discussions focused on the core objectives of this process, the immediate stop to the violence and the killing, access for humanitarian agencies and the start of a political dialogue,' Annan added, reading from a prepared statement.

"The realistic response is to embrace change and reforms; reforms that would create a solid foundation for a democratic Syria, a peaceful, stable pluralistic and prosperous society based on the rule of law and respect for human rights," he said.

The former UN chief said he had told Assad that his main preoccupation was "the welfare of the Syrian people that we should place the interest of the people at the centre of all of our efforts."

Annan, a Ghanaian, added: "I have urged the president to read the old African proverb, 'You can't turn the wind so turn the sail'."

Syrian state television had said there was a "positive atmosphere" to a first round of talks on Saturday between Assad and the former UN chief, their first since Annan's appointment as United Nations-Arab League envoy on the conflict.

But diplomats at the United Nations in New York expressed pessimism about the prospects for Annan's mission to end a year of bloodletting in Syria after troops poured into the northwestern city of Idlib late on Saturday, just hours after his first meeting with Assad.

A UN statement said that Annan had in the first meeting expressed "grave concern" over the relentless bloodshed in Syria and "urged the president to take concrete steps to end the current crisis."

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