March 27, 2012 / 10:48 AM / 6 years ago

Annan says Syria accepts U.N. peace plan

BEIJING (Reuters) - International envoy Kofi Annan said on Tuesday that Syria had accepted a U.N. peace proposal calling for a ceasefire but efforts had to be deployed to implement it.

A man shows a piece of shrapnel near damaged houses after heavy shelling by government forces in Al Qasseer city near Homs March 25, 2012. REUTERS/Shaam News Network/Handout

On a two-day visit to Beijing, Annan told Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao that he faced a long and difficult task in his mission to end fighting in Syria, but global cooperation with China and other countries was the only way to do it.

“I indicated that I had received a response from the Syrian government and will be making it public today, which is positive, and we hope to work with them to translate it into action,” Annan told reporters in Beijing after meeting Wen.

“I have a six-point plan which the Security Council has endorsed, dealing with issues of political discussions, withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centers, humanitarian assistance being allowed in unimpeded, release of prisoners, freedom of movement and access to journalists to go in and out,” he said. “So we will need to see how we move ahead and implement this agreement that they have accepted.”

Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Kafranbel, near Idlib, March 25, 2012. The banner reads "Occupied Kafranbel". REUTERS/Shaam News Network/Handout

Meanwhile, Syrian troops advanced into north Lebanon, destroying farm buildings and clashing with Syrian rebels who had taken refuge there, residents said.

Annan called for Beijing’s support and advice, according to a pool report.

“And I know you’ve already been helpful but this is going to be a long difficult task and I am sure that together we can make a difference,” Annan told Wen.

Annan’s trip to China followed a similar one in Russia, where he asked Moscow to back his mission to end fighting in Syria.

Russia and China have shielded Assad from U.N. Security Council condemnation by vetoing two Western-backed resolutions over the bloodshed, but approved a Security Council statement this week endorsing Annan’s mission.

Additional reporting by Sui-Lee Wee and Michael Martina,; Editing by Ken Wills and Ron Popeski

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