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DAMASCUS, SYRIA — The United Nations (UN)-Arab League Special Envoy for the Syrian crisis, Kofi Annan, on Monday reached an agreement with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on an approach to bring an end to the violence in the Middle Eastern country.
Annan described the meeting with Assad as "very candid and constructive," but gave few specific details. "We discussed the need to end the violence and ways and means of doing so," he said. "We agreed on an approach which I will share with the armed opposition. I also stressed the importance of moving ahead with a political dialogue which the President accepts."
Annan said Assad also reassured his government's commitment to the six-point peace plan, which calls for an end to violence, access for humanitarian agencies to provide relief to those in need, the release of detainees, the start of inclusive political dialogue, and unrestricted access to the country for the international media.
During a press conference in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Tuesday morning, Annan refused to go into details about the approach which had been agreed to. "I cannot get into specific details," he said. "But let me say that it relates to the efforts to end the violence. And (Assad) made a suggestion of building an approach from the ground up in some of the districts where we have extreme violence – to try and contain the violence in those districts and, step by step, build up and end the violence across the country."
Annan said the exact details of the plan are still to be worked out.
The UN estimates that more than 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria and tens of thousands displaced since the uprising against President al-Assad began 16 months ago. The opposition believes the number of deaths has already surpassed 17,000.