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Syria open to cease-fire deal but wants opponents to lay down arms first

Damascus, Sat, 17 Mar 2012 ANI

Damascus, Mar 17 (ANI): Syria has said that is open to a cease-fire deal if its opponents are ready halt violence first.


"We are keen to end violence and to take necessary military arrangements adapted to the situation on the ground," Syrian authorities wrote in the response to proposals made by U.N.-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan.


Syria asked the diplomat to first provide "guarantees" that armed attacks on the government would stop, and that neighboring countries halt arms trafficking into Syria, The Wall Street Journal reports.


According to the paper, the written response is seen as unlikely to satisfy opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and international parties who have called for him to step aside.


It, however, appears to indicate a greater degree of cooperation by Syria's government than in past diplomatic rounds that have failed during the year in which Syria's peaceful uprising has morphed into civil conflict.


The Syrian request that the opposition disarm first would fall short even of what Damascus's principal backer, Russia, has demanded, that both the government and the rebels lay down their arms and withdraw from cities and towns at the same time.


Syria's response came as thousands of citizens marched to mark one year since the first days of the uprising against Assad's rule. (ANI)


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