Clinton urges Syria to follow Annan's peace plan

Clinton urges Syria to follow Annan's peace plan

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday urged the Syrian government to throw its weight behind the peace plan mediated by international envoy Kofi Annan, saying the Arab nation is "at a crossroads."

"No one stands to gain if the plan fails. In fact, the only sources, or the only potential gainers would be the enemies of peace and change," Clinton told reporters after meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Robert Carr at the State Department, Xinhua reported.

"So the bulk of the responsibility rests with (Syrian President Bashar) Assad and with his supporters and his military to demonstrate a commitment to the Annan plan by silencing the guns, making sure that they're on a path toward the six points that Kofi Annan has set forth," she said.

Washington would like to see Annan's plan succeed, Clinton said. "It clearly cannot succeed unless all Syrians are permitted to take advantage of the presence of the UN monitors as they begin their mission."

The UN Security Council on Saturday unanimously approved the deployment to Syria of up to 300 unarmed UN military observers to monitor a fragile cease-fire between the Syrian government forces and armed opposition fighters. The advance team have reached the country.

The cease-fire is part of the six-point peace plan brokered by Annan, former UN secretary-general who serves as the joint Arab League and UN envoy to Syria. His plan, widely backed by the international community, calls for the withdrawal of heavy weapons and troops from population centers, a daily halt in fighting for the delivery of humanitarian aid and treatment for the wounded, as well as talks between the government and opposition.

Clinton denounced as "absolutely deplorable" the reported " intimidation, harassment and possible violence" against those Syrians who met with the monitors, saying Washington is consulting with its allies about additional steps to be taken against Syria.

"The onus is now on the regime to meet all of its commitments under that plan, including allowing the UN monitors to fully deploy and move throughout the country without restrictions," she said.

"Unfortunately, the Assad regime has broken its commitments time and again, so even as we work to help deploy the monitors, we are preparing additional steps in case the violence continues or the monitors are prevented from doing their work," she added.

U.S. President Barack Obama announced on Monday new sanctions against those believed to be helping the Iranian and Syrian governments to disrupt or monitor the Internet and phone communications in their countries.

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