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Peace Envoy Annan meets Syria’s Assad as Russian FM attends Arab League meeting

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad held “positive” talks with international peace envoy Kofi Annan on Saturday, state television reported.

“There was a positive atmosphere in the meeting between President Assad and Kofi Annan, envoy of the UN secretary general,” the television said.

Russia on Saturday said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made clear to the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Kofi Annan that Moscow opposed “crude interference” from outside in Syrian internal affairs.

“A particular emphasis was placed on the inadmissibility of trampling on international legal norms, including through crude interference in Syria’s internal affairs,” the foreign ministry said after a meeting earlier between Lavrov and Annan in Cairo.

Hours before the scheduled arrival of international peace envoy, Annan, Syrian troops heavily shelled the northwestern protest city of Idlib early Saturday, in an apparent prelude to a ground assault just, Al-Atrabiya reports quotin a watchdog

Qatar, which has led efforts to isolate President Bashar al-Assad, told Arab ministers on Saturday it was time to recognise the Syrian opposition as the nation’s legitimate representative.

“We advise the opposition, across the spectrum, to rise above their differences and merge into one voice that expresses the aspirations of their people so that they can face the tyranny of the regime,” Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told an Arab foreign ministers meeting.

“Here we call for the recognition of the Syrian National Council as the Syrian people’s legitimate representative,” Sheikh Hamad, who is also Qatar’s foreign minister, said in opening remarks.

He said that he hoped Lavrov’s presence would allow for reaching “agreement about the crisis”

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said in Cairo on Saturday that it was time to send Arab and foreign troops to conflict-stricken Syria.

“The time has come to apply the proposal to send Arab and international troops to Syria,” Sheikh Hamad said.

AFP, Reuters, Al-Arabiya


Mar 10, 2012 14:56