U.S. ambassador says look for action, not words, from Syria

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 27, 2012 1:14 PM
U.S. ambassador says look for action, not words, from Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, expressed skepticism on Tuesday about reports that Syria had accepted the peace plan of U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, saying it would be best to look for action, not words from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Ford told lawmakers in Washington that he had no information beyond the press reports of the development.

"We will see now in the days ahead what exactly Assad has said," Ford, who left his post in Syria last month because of the violence there, said at a hearing on human rights in Syria.

"I have to tell you that my own experience with him is you want to see steps on the ground and not just take his word at face value," Ford said.

Annan's spokesman said earlier on Tuesday that Syria had written to Annan saying it had accepted his six-point peace proposal aimed at ending a yearlong conflict that has killed more than 9,000 people and brought the country to the brink of civil war.

Ford said Annan's mandate came from a U.N. General Assembly resolution that called on the Syrian forces to withdraw from cities, and for the government to release thousands of political detainees that it holds, as well as to abide by a political transition process.

The United States announced on February 6 that it was closing its embassy in Syria because of the worsening security situation there but Ford has remained as ambassador and works from Washington.

(Reporting By Susan Cornwell; Editing by Bill Trott)