Syria will abide by the international peace plan and remove its troops from cities by April 10, Kofi Annan, the U.N. envoy to the country, told the Security Council.
"U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Annan received a letter from Syria's foreign minister on Sunday with the April 10 date and indicated he would have preferred an earlier deadline. She said Annan urged the Syrian government to start the withdrawal immediately and move no further into populated areas, and 'that commitment was provided.'
"Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'fari said the April 10 deadline was set 'by common accord' between Annan and the Syrian government, and he again pledged his government's complete support for Annan's six-point plan to end the yearlong Syrian crisis."
Reuters reports that once Annan and his team are able to verify the withdrawal by April 10, then both sides have to arrive at a real ceasefire.
"The Syrians have told us they have put a plan in place for withdrawing their army units from populated zones and surrounding areas. This plan began yesterday, the day we got the letter, and will be completed by April 10," Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told Reuters in Geneva after Annan briefed the U.N. Security Council.
The AP reports that the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice expressed skepticism.
"We have seen commitments to end the violence followed by massive intensifications of violence," Rice said. "So the United States, for one, would look at these commitments and say, yet again, the proof is the actions, not in the words."
Rice is likely referring to a peace plan that Syria agreed to in November of last year. One of the first conditions of that plan was that Syria withdraw tanks and armored vehicles from the streets.
As we know, now, that plan did not stop the attack against civilians in the country.
The AFP reports that as the diplomatic wheels turned, the killing continued. "At least 18 people were killed Monday as Syrian forces pressed their crackdown on dissent, pounding rebel bastions mainly in the restive north which also left many hurt, monitors said," the AFP reported.