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Syria troops pursue rebels

April 06, 2012, 8:55 UTC+3

Morocco reform approved by EU

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RABAT, April 6 (Itar-Tass) — While the international community is making strenuous efforts to settle the crisis in Syria by political and diplomatic ways, the country’s troops continue to pursue the armed opposition fighters.

The situation is uneasy in the north-west of the republic in the Idlib province. The SANA news agency reported that as a result of a successful operation, troops loyal to the government liberated the city of Taftanaz and arrested a large number of rebels. There were clashes between the military special forces and the Syrian Free Army in the vicinity of the country’s economic capital Aleppo, located 340 km north of Damascus. At the same time there was a shootout with armed in the streets of Hama. Army reinforcements that were dispatched there started sweeping the troubled neighbourhoods. The militants entrenched in the Hamidiya district and attempted to block the Damascus-Aleppo highway.

The UN Security Council urged the Syrian authorities to “urgently and visibly” fulfil their obligations under the Kofi Annan’s Syrian settlement plan and to do so in full volume no later than April 10, 2012. It is specified in an official statement of the UN Security Council chairman that the Syrian government should “stop the movement of troops to settlements and to stop using heavy weapons, as well as to begin the withdrawal of troops, concentrated in and around the settlements.” The Council urged “all the sides, including the opposition, to stop violence in all its forms within 48 hours after these measures are fully implemented by the Syrian government.” The statement emphasised the importance of “a peaceful political settlement of the crisis through a comprehensive and immediate fulfilment of all aspects of the six-point proposal of the special envoy.”

Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jafari said for his part that the government of the republic wants to get guarantees that the “militants will not seize cities when the troops are withdrawn from them.” The diplomat stressed that Damascus insists “on getting such written guarantees personally from Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States on the Syrian Crisis Kofi Annan” after he holds consultations in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other countries supporting the rebels. “We demand a guarantee that the militants will not fill the vacuum after the withdrawal of troops,” he said.

Meanwhile, the process of large-scale reforms that was launched by the Moroccan authorities last year has again been positively assessed by Europe. Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland who was on a visit to Rabat said that the EU and the Council of Europe “support the ongoing reforms in the kingdom.” According to him, the Council of Europe attaches major importance to cooperation with Morocco in such matters such fighting against corruption, illegal immigration, cross-border crime and drug trafficking. Jagland therefore pointed to “the importance of joint action” between the Council of Europe and Rabat “to ensure stability in the Mediterranean region and North Africa.” He called the reforms conducted in Morocco “positive changes,” describing the kingdom as a “serious and reliable partner” with which the Council of Europe wants to develop cooperation. Jagland also welcomed the constitutional reform initiated Morocco last year, in particular, the aspects related to securing women’s rights and strengthening the role of the parliamentary opposition.


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