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UNITED NATIONS, March 10 (Itar-Tass) — UN special representative to the Arab League on a Syrian settlement Kofi Annan should strive for an immediate ceasefire both from the government and the opposition forces during his mission to Damascus, said on Friday UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to a group of reporters, adding that Annan would meet Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Saturday.
According to Ban, the programme of Annan’s visit to the Syrian capital wherefrom he plans to leave on Sunday, provides for meetings with leaders of civil society as well as with all whom he believes necessary. The secretary-general added that Annan would hold a dialogue with a broad range of participants – with the government leadership, civil society and humanitarian organizations – specified Ban.
Then he will try to visit a region, but this is not settled yet. He will lead a dialogue with opposition forces outside Syria and opposition leaders, Ban continued.
The secretary-general noted that he held a 30-minute tripartite phone talks on Friday with the participation of Arab League secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi and Annan, which showed their full unity of views in an approach to the question on a Syrian settlement.
Ban emphasized that the Organisation’s priorities lie in stopping immediately all violence both from the government and from the opposition forces. He resolutely called on Annan to strive for an immediate ceasefire initially by government forces – if it is possible to come to agreement on an immediate and simultaneous ceasefire, it would be wonderful – and then the opposition forces.
Following this, according to the secretary-general, a political settlement, precluding anybody, should come into force.
He also requested Annan to call on President Assad, on the wave of Valerie Amos’s humanitarian mission, to promote rendering humanitarian aid and to give an access. In Ban’s words, he is inspired by very close coordination between himself, the UN secretariat, Annan and Al-Arabi.
The secretary-general also intends to participate in a meeting of the UN Security Council, scheduled for March 12, at the ministerial level on the question of influence of “Arab spring” on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. According to preliminary information, it will be attended by the foreign ministers of Britain, Russia, France and the US.