London out of patience with Syria

April 10, 2012 at 1:03 PM
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ANKARA, Turkey, April 10 (UPI) -- The Syrian president and "his closest cronies" are advised they'll be held accountable for their actions, the British foreign secretary said Tuesday.

A peace plan brokered by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on Syrian forces to pull out of major cities in preparation for a cease-fire Thursday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least four people were killed Tuesday in Hama province and shelling of Homs continued despite Syria's agreement to honor Annan's plan, the BBC reports.

British Foreign Minister William Hague, in a statement, said his government condemned the latest violence perpetrated by the "doomed" regime in Damascus.

"President (Bashar) Assad and his closest cronies should be under no doubt that they will be held to account for their actions," Hague said. "All those with influence over the Syrian leadership, including Russia, have a duty to back efforts to stop the violence and to isolate a regime which is as doomed as it is dangerous to the Syrian people."

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Tuesday that military forces had withdrawn from some provinces but "terrorism activities" had escalated and spread to other areas, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reports.

The foreign minister said the Syrian government was ready for a national dialogue once "the opposition" is ready for serious talks.

Annan was quoted by the BBC as saying it was too early to make assessments about his peace plan, however.

"I believe it's a bit too early to say that the plan has failed," he said. "The plan is still on the table and is a plan we are all fighting to implement."

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