Damascus (AsiaNews) - "Assad's assent is a sign of hope for the entire Syrian people that now must wait for concrete action by the government," said Fr Nawras Sammour as he spoke to AsiaNews about President Bashar al-Assad's acceptance of the peace plan put forward by UN envoy Kofi Annan. For the Jesuit missionary, the proposal by the United Nations and the international community is the "only way to lay down weapons and end a year of clashes and violence."
Syria's government has agreed to the peace plan today, said Ahmad Fawzi, spokesman of the former UN secretary general. For Annan, who is in Beijing to meet with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Assad's agreement is a first step to end the violence and start talks between the regime and rebels. The UN envoy has already has written to President Assad urging him to put his commitment into immediate effect.
The six-point plan, which is backed by the UN Security Council, calls for an end to the violence, the gradual implementation of a ceasefire, sending humanitarian aid, the release of people detained without trial, the free movement of journalists and talks between the government and opposition.
The Syrian National Council (SNC) is sceptical however. Its leaders stress that without an ultimatum, the regime will continue its offensive.
Together with the Turkish government, they call for military support to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the creation of a buffer zone on the Turkish border.