US: Syrian pledge to comply with peace plan, enact cease-fire lacks credibility

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Wednesday that Syria’s claim it would agree to a cease-fire Thursday has “little if any credibility,” but would still not be enough to comply with the peace plan proposed by U.N.-Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan.

Syria’s pledge “is not and cannot in our judgment be construed as compliance” with Annan’s peace plan, Rice told reporters at the United Nations Wednesday, according to media reports.

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Annan’s peace plan, which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to, calls for a cease-fire to begin Thursday morning. Syria on Wednesday said it would abide by the cease-fire on Thursday.

But Syria did not keep the first deadline in Annan’s peace plan — to withdraw troops from major population centers by Tuesday — and there were reports of continued attacks on opposition forces Wednesday.

"Fighting is still raging as we speak, reflecting what has been an intensification of the violence the Syrian government has pursued since April 1 when it committed to cease all hostile action," Rice said, according to Reuters.


White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday that the Obama administration is waiting to see what Annan says Thursday before taking its next steps in Syria. The administration has provided humanitarian and communications aid to the opposition forces but has opposed providing arms.


“We will see what happens in terms of Mr. Annan's statement about asking all sides to implement the cease-fire by tomorrow,” Carney said at Wednesday’s press briefing. “What is important to remember is that we judge the Assad regime by its actions and not by their promises, because their promises have proven so frequently in the past to be empty.”

A group of senators led by John McCain (R-Ariz.) have called for military action in Syria, including foreign air strikes like the campaign in Libya last year. McCain and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) were at a refugee camp in Turkey on Tuesday, where they renewed their call for military aid to anti-Assad forces and criticized the international community for not doing enough.

Rice said in a CNN interview Monday that the window for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict was fading fast, and she wasn’t optimistic it would be successful.

“Should the Syrian government yet again refuse to implement its commitments, make promises and then break them and continue and escalate the killing, then I think it will be clear to all that there isn't yet a prospect for a diplomatic solution,” Rice said.

“We still hope that that's possible,” she said. “We still want to give that a final chance, but I don't think we or anybody else are particularly optimistic.”