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Syria pledges to safeguard reforms amid calls for quick implementation of peace plan (3)

(Xinhua)

14:54, March 31, 2012

"We are appealing to the stronger party to make a gesture of good faith," said Fawzi, expressing the conviction that the opposition would follow suit.

He said Annan has sent his deputy Nassar El-Kidwa to Istanbul to talk to the opposition.

Having visited Egypt, Turkey, Qatar, Russia and China, Annan intends to visit Teheran and Riyadh to seek support for his peace plan.

The United States has welcomed Damascus's consent to implement Annan's peace plan and said the move was a step to the right direction.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Treasury Department announced Friday it had slapped sanctions on the Syrian defense minister and two senior military officials.

Under the sanctions, U.S. citizens are prohibited to do business with the designees and the three Syrians' assets under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.

Lebanon-based Hezbollah said Friday a political solution is the only way out of the Syrian crisis.

Hezbollah Secretary General of Hezbollah Hasan Nasrallah said that a serious solution to the Syria issue should be based on dialogue between the regime and opposition and an agreement to conduct real reforms.

He urged Lebanese parties betting on the fall of the Syrian government to reconsider their stance.

"We can differ about the Syrian situation while preserving Lebanon and its stability," he said. Lebanese parties are divided in their positions on Syria.

As ongoing violence threatens to destroy buildings and disrupt government protection on cultural heritage, UNESCO is calling on member states and international bodies to help protect Syria's cultural heritage sites and artifacts.

"Syria's history extends back over thousands of years," said spokesman Eduardo del Buey on Friday. "A succession of cultures has left an outstanding wealth of archaeological sites, historic cities, cultural landscapes, monuments and works of art that bear witness to the evolution of human ingenuity."

The UN cultural agency says director-general Irina Bokova has alerted agencies such as world police body Interpol and the World Customs Organization that objects from Syria could appear on the international antiquities market.

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