Arab League backs UN peace plan on Syria

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Arab League backs UN peace plan on Syria

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Arab leaders are calling for a UN peace plan on Syria to be implemented in its entirety and straight away, after the Arab League met in Baghdad.

The six-point plan, drawn up by Kofi Annan, includes withdrawing troops from heavily-populated areas and humanitarian assistance, but does not call for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

“We have to see the implementation, and this implementation must be complete, sincere and immediate. And that has not happened yet, but God willing, it will happen,” said Arab League Secretary General, Nabil Elaraby.

Assad has agreed to make the peace plan a success, as long as there is an end to the arming and foreign funding of rebels fighting his government – though Syria did not attend the meeting.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also put pressure on Assad to adopt the peace plan: “I share Mr Annan’s view that this is an important initial step. It is essential that President Assad put those commitments into immediate effect. The world is waiting for commitments to be translated into action.”

Distrust of the Shi’ite-dominated Iraqi government led to a boycott by more than half the member countries’ leaders.

Three rockets exploded in the capital, despite tight security for the summit.