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Syria: Annan talks with Assad yield mixed results

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad refuses to meet with opposition as violence escalates in Idlib. Talks continue Sunday.

Annan syria 2012 10 03 0Enlarge
UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Kofi Annan in Damascus on March 10, 2012 following a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

High-level diplomatic talks to end the violence in Syria yielded mixed results on Saturday.

Meetings between Kofi Annan and Bashar al-Assad in Damascus ended with the Syrian President refusing immediate negotiations with the opposition as violence escalated in Idlib, the New York Times reported.

The former United Nations secretary general was sent by the UN and the Arab League to try to negotiate a cease-fire. He was due to sit down again with Assad on Sunday.

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Assad said no political dialogue can succeed while “terrorist groups” were operating in the country but Syria would back "any honest effort to find a solution," the BBC reported.

Annan spoke to al-Assad about a ceasefire, the release of detainees and allowing the delivery of much needed aid, a UN statement said.

According to CNN, Annan also proposed a start to an inclusive political dialogue that would "address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the people."

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According to the news agency, the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), a network of Syrian activists, said at least 63 people were killed Saturday.

Government forces were said to be shelling Idlib, in the northwest, as well as storming the city with tanks.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120310/syria-annan-talks-assad-yield-mixed-results