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Syrian military on offensive before truce deadline

By Oliver Holmes and Douglas Hamilton / Reuters BEIRUT: Syria has assured the United Nations it will respect a ceasefire with rebels due to take effect in less than 24 hours, peace envoy Kofi Annan said on Wednesday, but President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces kept up attacks in several cities. Western powers have scorned Assad’s pledges, but …

DNE

Pope, in Easter message, backs Syria peace plan

By Philip Pullella / Reuters VATICAN CITY: A fatigued-looking Pope Benedict threw his weight behind a United Nations plan to end bloodshed in Syria in his Easter Sunday message, calling for “an immediate commitment” to peace efforts there. The 84-year-old pope gave a shorter-than-usual blessing from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica after an outdoor …

DNE

Annan says Syria agrees to April 10 peace deadline

By Louis Charbonneau /Reuters UNITED NATIONS: Kofi Annan asked the UN Security Council to back an April 10 deadline for partial implementation of his peace plan for Syria, telling its members that Syria had agreed to the date, diplomats said on Monday. The UN-Arab League peace envoy told the council behind closed doors that troops would …

DNE

Syria fighting rages, Annan urges immediate ceasefire

DAMASCUS: International envoy Kofi Annan urged Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad to immediately implement a ceasefire, as fighting raged Friday even after the embattled leader said he had accepted the peace plan. UN-Arab League peace broker Annan made the appeal as monitors said shells rained down on Homs, a main rebel bastion which has been the …

DNE

Saving the Syrians

By Gareth Evans CANBERRA: Despite the United Nations Security Council’s belated endorsement of UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s peacemaking mission in Syria, confidence that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad will cooperate in any serious or sustained way remains low, and calls for external military intervention continue. As Syria’s crisis goes from bad to worse, those urging armed …

DNE

UN: Egypt’s foot and mouth outbreak could spread

By AP ROME: A UN agency is warning that an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Egypt could spread and threaten livestock in North Africa and the Middle East, leading to possible food shortages. The disease is not a direct threat to humans but meat and milk from sick animals are unsafe for consumption. …

DNE

UN aims to press Syria, new clashes in Damascus

DAMASCUS: The UN Security Council was to weigh a draft statement on Tuesday warning Syria of “further measures” if it fails to cooperate with peace envoy Kofi Annan, as fresh violence struck Damascus. Russian support for a daily humanitarian truce had raised hopes of a breakthrough at the Security Council but on Tuesday Moscow made …

DNE

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