The Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS -- The previously divided UN Security Council sent a strong and united message to the Syrian government and its opposition yesterday to immediately implement proposals by international envoy Kofi Annan to end the yearlong bloodshed.

A nonbinding statement approved by the 15 council members and read at a formal meeting spells out Annan's six proposals, which include a cease-fire first by the government, a daily two-hour halt to fighting to evacuate the injured and provide humanitarian aid, and inclusive Syrian-led political talks "to address the legitimate concerns of the Syrian people."

Annan, the joint UN-Arab League envoy, appealed to the Security Council last Friday for its backing, saying the stronger and more unified the message, the better the chances of shifting the dynamics of the conflict.

The UN estimates that well over 8,000 have been killed.

Britain's Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, the current Security Council president, said the council statement sends "precisely the strong and united message to the Syrian government and all other actors in Syria that they need to respond, and respond quickly and immediately, to the six-point plan."

In a bid to win support from Russia and China, which have twice vetoed European and U.S.-backed resolutions condemning President Bashar Assad's crackdown, France watered down the statement to eliminate possible consideration of "further measures," which could include military action.

Instead, the presidential statement asks Annan to update the council regularly on his mission's progress and says that "in the light of these reports, the Security Council will consider further steps as appropriate."

Russia and China had criticized the earlier resolutions, saying they only blamed the Syrian government and not the opposition. "The most important [thing] is that the document contains no ultimatums, threats or theses on who is to blame," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Berlin, where he met his German counterpart.

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

Elisa DiStefano kick-starts summer with the Fun Book show From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book.

From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book. Credit: Newsday Staff

Elisa DiStefano kick-starts summer with the Fun Book show From new rides at Adventureland to Long Island's best seafood restaurants to must-see summer concerts, here's your inside look at Newsday's summer Fun Book.

Latest videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME