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Annan "optimistic" of breakthrough in Syria, despite deal

The UN special envoy to Syria met with President Bashar al-Assad again Sunday, seeking a diplomatic solution to crisis.

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)

UN special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, said he is "optimistic" about making diplomatic progress after meeting with President Bashar al-Assad again on Sunday but that a deal could be tough to secure.

"It's going to be tough, it's going to be difficult but we have to have hope," Annan said after wrapping up two days of talks in Damascus, according to CNN.

A UN official told CBS News that Annan had strong hopes he managed to make an advance in solving the crisis. "He ended very candid, positive talks with Assad, and he feels very optimistic that he is making a breakthrough," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told CBS.

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Meanwhile on Sunday, opposition groups said violence claimed at least 32 more lives in Idlib, Aleppo, Latakia, Homs, Latakia, Daraa, Hama and the Damascus countryside.

On Saturday, Annan had proposed a cease-fire, the release of detainees and allowing relief agencies unfettered access to deliver much needed aid, a UN statement said.

The former UN secretary-general, also proposed a start to an inclusive political dialogue that would "address the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the people."

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After talks, Annan was scheduled to meet with the emir of Qatar, whose prime minister on Saturday called for military intervention in Syria.

The Christian Science Monitor reported that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will push for Russian cooperation on Syria when she meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the United Nations in New York on Monday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120311/annan-optimistic-breakthrough-syria