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Political dialogue crucial to resolve Syrian crisis

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)

08:18, April 17, 2012

Edited and Translated by Han Shasha, People's Daily Online

The Syrian government and opposition forces halted the year-long bloodshed in the country on April 12 as they promised. Although the current situation does not predict an optimistic future for the troubled country, the ceasefire is an important step toward implementing a peace plan put forward by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. There is likely to be a short period of calm in the turbulent country, and all parties involved should grasp the opportunity to promote a political settlement of the Syrian crisis.

The ceasefire is a result of untiring efforts of Annan and the international community. In order to consolidate the ceasefire and ease tensions, top priority should be given to fully implement Annan’s peace plan, especially to launch a Syrian-led inclusive political process.

A lasting and complete ceasefire depends largely on whether an inclusive political process will be launched quickly. The Syrian opposition forces have split into several groups, making it difficult to predict whether they will implement the ceasefire in a coordinated manner. Government forces remain vigilant, and said that they are “ready to fight” if attacked. Therefore, an inclusive political process should be launched immediately to facilitate full reconciliation and eliminate any possibility of a broken ceasefire.

All Syrian parties should stick closely to the three steps of ceasefire, political process, and political reforms, so as to achieve peace and reconciliation.

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