[Debate] FSA Rejects Syria's Demand for "Written Guarantees" to Lay Down Arms
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Sun Apr 8 15:59:00 BST 2012
Syrian cease-fire deal appears to collapse
By ALBERT AJI, Associated Press – 32 minutes ago
BEIRUT (AP) — A U.N.-brokered peace deal for Syria appeared to
collapse Sunday as the government made a new demand that its opponents
provide "written guarantees" to lay down their weapons before regime
forces withdraw from cities, a call swiftly rejected by the country's
main rebel group.
. . . .
Annan said last week that Syrian President Bashar Assad had accepted
the plan and its call for government forces to pull back from urban
centers. But on Sunday Syria's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad
Makdessi, placed a new condition — that the opposition agree in
writing "to halt violence with all its forms and their readiness to
lay down weapons."
The commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army, Riad al-Asaad, said his
group was prepared to abide by the Annan agreement, but rejected the
government's new unilateral demand.
The FSA does not recognize the regime "and for that reason we will not
give guarantees," he told The Associated Press by telephone from his
base in neighboring Turkey. He said government forces should return to
their bases and remove checkpoints from the streets.
Annan's six-point peace plan calls for government forces to withdraw
from population centers by Tuesday, to be followed by a full
cease-fire by both sides by 6 a.m. Thursday.
. . . . .
Makdessi, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Syria will not allow a
repeat of what had happened in January, when Assad pulled back his
armed forces from cities and their surroundings, only to see rebels
flood the areas vacated by government troops.
"Armed terrorist groups used this to rearm its elements and spread its
authority on entire districts," Makdessi said. He also alleged that
Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are arming and funding the opposition
and demanded guarantees that this will be halted.
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