By Elise Labott
As a shaky cease-fire holds on the ground in Syria, a meeting is shaping up for next week in Paris to discuss the crisis, diplomatic sources said.
The meeting is not a done deal, but is likely and could prove timely, because the situation on the ground in Syria could change significantly by then, the sources said. If the cease-fire in Syria holds, meeting discussions will need to include sending in international monitors.
The cease-fire is part of a six-point plan brokered by special international envoy Kofi Annan, which includes the release of detainees, access for humanitarian aid and international media, and rights for peaceful demonstrators. But the international community will need to consider next steps if violence breaks out again and Annan’s peace plan collapses, the sources said.
The meeting would come on the heels of a NATO meeting taking place Wednesday and Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, which several of the countries from the Friends of Syria group will attend. The Paris meeting would not be a formal meeting of the Friends of Syria, which includes more than 70 countries, but would likely involve about a dozen of what the sources called “like-minded nations.” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would likely attend if the meeting took place, a senior U.S. official told CNN.
The meeting could take on political overtones in France, which is nearing an election. It would allow President Nicolas Sarkozy to demonstrate leadership before the start of voting on April 22. On Thursday, Sarkozy held a videoconference with U.S. President Barack Obama, in which the two “condemned the violence perpetrated by the regime against its own people and noted that the regime had yet to fully implement the agreement negotiated with Kofi Annan pursuant to the Annan plan,” according to a White House statement.