Annan appeals to Syria to give peace plan a chance


UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council is strongly backing international envoy Kofi Annan's plea to the Syrian government to halt all military action and pull its troops out of cities and towns so a ceasefire can take place on April 12.

A press statement approved by all 15 council members on Tuesday expressed "deep concern" at the Syrian government's failure to implement the April 10 deadline to withdraw all troops and heavy equipment.

It underscored Annan's appeal to Syria's leadership to change course, and not delay a ceasefire with new conditions.

The council also echoed Annan's call to the opposition to fulfill its commitment to halt all violence if the Syrian military does, "and give no excuse for the government to renege on its commitments."