Annan tells UN that Syria has not withdrawn weapons | News | DW | 25.04.2012
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Annan tells UN that Syria has not withdrawn weapons

Kofi Annan spokesman has said that Syrian authorities have failed to withdraw heavy weapons from residential areas in some settlements. An aide cited satellite imagery and "credible reports."

The special envoy to Syria for the UN and Arab League, Kofi Annan, has called for the rapid deployment of a UN observer mission to help force an end to violence in Syria.

Former UN Secretary General Annan told the Security Council on Tuesday that the Damascus regime has kept heavy weaponry in some residential areas.

He said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has still not fulfilled a promise to end violence and said the situation was "bleak" as an April 12 cease-fire went unheeded.

"The situation in Syria continues to be unacceptable," said Annan. "The Syria authorities must implement their commitments in full, and a cessation of violation in all its forms must be respected by all parties,"

Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi had earlier appeared on UN television, saying that there was reason to doubt a Syrian claim that all heavy weapons had been withdrawn from built-up areas.

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Violence continues in Syria despite monitors' presence

"Satellite imagery however and credible reports show that this has not fully happened, so this is unacceptable, and joint special envoy Kofi Annan will be saying this to the Security Council today when he addresses them in a closed session," Fawzi said on Tuesday.

Regime efforts to dupe monitors

Fawzi also said that Annan would address other difficulties facing the team of UN monitors currently deployed in the country. Some reports have suggested that fighting often restarts once they have left an area and that some people the monitors talk to are subsequently intimidated or killed by government forces.

The military observers visited Hama on Tuesday, one of the more violent cities during the past year of unrest in Syria. Activist groups had reported several deaths in the city on Monday, after an earlier inspectors' visit.

The UN team is charged with monitoring a shaky six-point ceasefire agreement brokered by Annan, with a key demand being a cessation of violence. The team will soon be expanded to 300 people.

Syriahas been rocked by 13 months of widespread unrest and conflict. The UN says more than 9,000 people have been killed.

msh, rc/ncy (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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