Susan Rice speaks on Syria’s six point plan


U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that Syria has accepted an April 10 deadline for ending military operations, with the opposition under pressure to cease fighting within 48 hours of that, envoys said.

"Mr. Annan reported that the Syrian Foreign Minister sent him a letter yesterday in which he said that the Syrian military will begin immediately and by April 10 will complete the cessation of all forward deployment and use of heavy weapons and will complete its withdrawal from population centers," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told reporters.

Speaking after Annan addressed a closed-door meeting of the 15-nation council via video link, Rice added that Annan's deputy Nasser al-Kidwa also had constructive exchanges with the opposition.

But Western diplomats including Rice expressed skepticism about the credibility of Syria, which has repeatedly promised to end attacks but has pressed ahead with a year-long assault on anti-government activists that has brought the country to the brink of civil war.

"We have seen over the course of the last many months, promises made and promises broken. We have seen commitments to end the violence followed by massive intensification of violence. So the United States for one would look at these commitments and say yet again that the proof is in the actions, not in the words and past experience would lead us to be skeptical and to worry that over the next several days that rather than a diminution of the violence we might yet again see an escalation of the violence," said Rice.

Syria's Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja'afari confirmed that Damascus accepted the April 10 deadline but said the government wants the opposition on board.

"The Syrian government is committed but we are expecting Mr. Kofi Annan and some parties in the Security Council also to get the same kind of commitments from the (opposition)," he told reporters. "A plan wouldn't be successful unless everybody is committed to it."

The United Nations says Syrian soldiers and security forces have killed more than 9,000 people over the past 12 months. Damascus says rebels have killed 3,000 troops and police.