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Nation/World

March 21, 2012

UN Security Council backs Annan's Syria peace plan

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council has strongly backed international envoy Kofi Annan's proposals to end the yearlong bloodshed in Syria.

A nonbinding statement approved by the 15 council members and read at a formal meeting Wednesday calls on the Syrian government and the opposition to immediately implement the proposals including a cease-fire, inclusive political talks and a daily two-hour humanitarian halt to fighting.

In a bid to win support from Russia and China, which have twice vetoed European and U.S.-backed resolutions condemning President Bashar Assad's crackdown on protesters, France watered down the statement to eliminate possible consideration of "further measures," which could include sanctions or military action.

Instead, the council would now consider "further steps as appropriate."

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