UNITED NATIONS - Kofi Annan says he is encouraged that the cease-fire in Syria appears to be holding and calls on the government and rebels to fully implement his peace plan.

He stressed in a statement issued before his closed-door briefing to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that the plan includes military provisions requiring the withdrawal of troops and heavy military equipment from towns and cities and a commitment to move to a political process. Annan, a former U.N. secretary-general, is the international envoy on Syria.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Annan said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be asking the council to approve the deployment of a U.N. observer mission as soon as possible.

He said this would allow "a serious political dialogue" to be launched quickly addressing the Syrian people's concerns and aspirations.