Kofi Annan heads to Beijing for Syria talks

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UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Kofi Annan in Damascus on March 10, 2012 following a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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LOUAI BESHARA

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told reporters before leaving Moscow for Beijing that the conflict in Syria "cannot be allowed to drag on indefinitely," Reuters reported.

The Associated Press quoted Annan as saying "it is urgent to move ahead" to stop the violence and that both the opposition and the Syrian government must start a political process.

"As I have told the parties on the ground, they cannot resist the transformational winds that are blowing," Annan told Reuters.

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The former UN Secretary General has been trying to rally support from Syria's two biggest allies - China and Russia.

Meanwhile, Annan is studying Syria's government response to his peace plan "and will respond very shortly," said his spokesman. 

The six-point plan which stops short of calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down has the backing of both Moscow and Beijing in the UN Security Council.

Over the weekend, the BBC reported Russian president Dimitri Medvedev said it "may be the last chance for Syria to avoid a protracted bloody civil war." 

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