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Syria promises to fulfill ceasefire

By Chen Lidan (People's Daily Online)

09:44, April 19, 2012

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem pays a working visit to China on April 18 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. (People’s Daily Online/Chen Lidan)

Beijing, April 19 (People's Daily Online)--The Syrian government will commit to providing all elements needed for the implementation of the peace plan brokered by UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan, Syria’s foreign minister said Wednesday.

In a press conference, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem, who was on a working visit in Beijing, indicated that the external force intervention could cause huge casualties on the country’s land hence the government respects and would commit itself to Annan’s six-point proposal.

Annan plan includes the withdrawal of troops and heavy weapons from populated Syrian areas and ceasefire for the delivery of humanitarian aids to civilians and treatment of the wounded.

As a part of the Annan plan, an advance team of UN observers has arrived in the Syrian capital on Sunday night to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire. The advance team will be followed by other batches of observers and the total number of monitors may eventually reach 250.

The ceasefire truce went into effect last Thursday, but it does not put an end to violent incidents and casualties in Syria. Government forces and armed opposition accused each other for violating the truce. There have been worries and skepticism about the success of Annan’s peace plan.

The focus now is to ease the conflict and bridge mutual trust between government and the opposition, rather than aggravate the crisis, suggested Chen Xiaodong, Director of Department of Western Asian and North African Affairs of Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Mualem highly valued the persistent efforts China and Russia have made to help resolve the crisis through political dialogues and said he expressed the gratitude to China’s diplomatic principle of noninterference during the meeting with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

He also voiced criticism of the political pressure and sanctions against Syria, saying that such acts directly jeopardize Syrian people’s interest and urged the armed opposition to stop violence.

Damascus’s first priority now is to rebuild the residency that were damaged in the conflicts and allow people to regain their home, said Mualem, and a five-year plan will be put in place to reactivate Syria’s economy when the current crisis is over.

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