"Door of dialogue" with Syria still open - Annan aide

GENEVA Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:07pm GMT

GENEVA (Reuters) - Kofi Annan, the joint U.N.-Arab League special envoy for Syria, remains in close contact with senior Syrian authorities over his proposals to end the fighting, his spokesman said on Thursday.

Annan later spoke by telephone with Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moualem, as well as with officials from other foreign powers "with influence", his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said, declining to give details.

"The door of dialogue is still open. We are still engaged with Syrian authorities over Mr. Annan's proposals," Fawzi said in Geneva.

"He's been in telephone contact with the Syrian foreign minister during the course of the day ... as well as with international actors, member states with influence."

In addition, there were written exchanges with Damascus.

Annan, whose office is based in Geneva, will brief the United Nations Security Council by video conference from the Swiss city on Friday.

The former U.N. secretary-general, who held talks with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus last weekend, said on Wednesday he had received Assad's reply but was seeking answers to outstanding questions.

Annan's plan outlined steps that urgently needed to be taken, including a halt to fighting, humanitarian access and the start of a political dialogue with the Syrian opposition, Fawzi has previously said.

Flag-waving crowds took to the streets of Syrian cities on Thursday in an orchestrated show of loyalty to Assad on the first anniversary of an increasingly bloody revolt against his rule which has cost at least 8,000 lives.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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