61 dead as Annan studying Assad response

Published March 26th, 2012 - 07:15 GMT

Expected Tuesday in China after his visit to Moscow, Kofi Annan, UN and the Arab League envoy to Syria, received an answer from Damascus to his six-point plan for ending the conflict in Syria that has claimed the lives of more than 8,000 people since March 2011.

In Moscow, where he met yesterday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Kofi Annan said that the crisis in Syria could not "last forever" but that it was impossible to set a deadline for a resolution of the conflict. "It does not make sense to introduce a timetable or a deadline when all parties do not agree," he said.

"We cannot let (the crisis) last indefinitely, as I told the partie on the ground, they cannot resist the winds of change," said Annan.

In Geneva, Annan's spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, announced that the government of President Bashar al-Assad had formally responded to the six-point plan for a negotiated settlement of the crisis.

"The Syrian government has officially responded to the six-point plan of special envoy on Syria as it was endorsed by the UN Security Council," he said. "Mr. Annan is currently studying it and will respond very quickly."

Meanwhile, neighborhoods of the rebel city of Homs, 150 km north of Damascus, continued to be under heavy bombings. Monday's violence claimed the lives of at least 61 people across the country, half of them in Homs, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.

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