International envoy Kofi Annan has appealed to Syria's key ally Iran to support his plan to end the violence in the country, saying that "any further militarization of the conflict would be disastrous." Annan spoke to reporters after talks with Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in Tehran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (left) with UN-Arab League Envoy on Syria Kofi Annan
Annan has been pushing Damascus to withdraw its troops and tanks from cities and halt all violence within two days to salvage his peace plan.
Under Annan's plan, Syrian troops were due to withdraw from cities by early April 10 and this was to be followed 48 hours later by a cease-fire between the government and opposition fighters.
Salehi said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should stay in power regardless of the course of the Syrian conflict.
He warned that calls for Assad's removal would lead to a "power vacuum" in Syria which would then have grave consequences.
In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to hold talks on Syria with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
With reporting by AP, AFP, and dpa
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