Syria: Peace envoy Kofi Annan holds 'candid' talks with Assad


A Syrian youth waves the Syrian revolutionary flag during an anti-government demonstration in the rebel-controlled northern countryside city of Mareh.


Vedat Xhymshiti

After admitting that his peace plan has so far failed, international envoy Kofi Annan held what he called "constructive and candid" talks with President Bashar al-Assad, the BBC reported.

Annan arrived in the capital Damascus late Sunday for his third visit to the country since fighting broke out 16 months ago.

"We agreed on an approach which I will share with the armed opposition," the special envoy told journalists after a two-hour meeting with Assad, the Associated Press reported.

He didn't give further details.

Annan is next headed to Iran, the AP said, where he is expected to hold talks with members of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government in Tehran.  

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The trip comes after he told French newspaper Le Monde that his six-point peace plan, aimed at finding a political solution to the situation in Syria, had not stopped the bloodshed.

In an interview broadcast on German television Sunday, Assad described the peace plan as "very good," but said it was being undermined by countries including the United States, Al Jazeera reported.

"The biggest obstacle is that many countries do not even want this plan to succeed, so they offer political support and continue to provide the terrorists in Syria with arms and money," Assad said.

Also on Sunday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in Tokyo for a conference on Afghanistan, said the Assad regime's days were “numbered," adding that the Syrian opposition was getting more effective in its “defense against the Syrian military and the Syrian government's militias."

Meanwhile Russia announced today that it would not sell any more weapons to Assad's government until the situation in Syria stabilizes. 

RIA Novosti quoted Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, as saying that Russia will neither sign new contracts with Syria nor deliver new types of weapons, including the 36 Yak-130 combat training aircraft that Syria has already ordered.

The dialogue between Annan and Assad comes after a meeting of major powers last week called for a transitional unity government in Syria.


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