In a discussion described as “very candid and constructive,” Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and the Joint Special Envoy for the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Kofi Annan, agreed on an approach to ending the violence in the Middle Eastern country.
“We discussed the need to end the violence and ways and means of doing so. We agreed on an approach which I will share with the armed opposition. I also stressed the importance of moving ahead with a political dialogue which the President accepts,” Annan told reporters in Damascus, after the meeting. The Joint Special Envoy had arrived in the Syrian capital on Sunday evening.
“President Assad reassured me of the Government’s commitment to the six-point plan which, of course, we should move ahead to implement in a much better fashion than has been the situation so far,” he added.
Put forward by Annan earlier this year, the six-point peace plan calls for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.
“So I am leaving Syria, but we will continue our dialogue and, as I said, the approach we have discussed about ending the violence will also be shared with the armed opposition,” the Joint Special Envoy added at the media encounter. “I have a team here on the ground that will continue to do that. I also encourage Governments and other entities with influence to have a similar effort.”
Later on Monday, the Joint Special Envoy travelled to Tehran for talks with Iranian leaders.
The UN estimates that more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President al-Assad began 16 months ago.