"It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be difficult but we have to have hope," he told reporters inDamascus. "I am optimistic for several reasons," he said, citing a general desire for peace in Syria.
Annan told reporters he had left "concrete proposals" with Assad, and called for an immediate halt to the killings inSyria, where theUnited Nationssays Assad’s forces have killed 7,500 people in a year-long crackdown on protests. Authorities say 2,000 soldiers have been killed by insurgents.
"I have urged the president to heed the African proverb which says you cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail," Annan said.Syrianeeded to embrace change and reform, he said.
"You have to start by stopping the killings and the misery and the abuses that (are) going on today and then give time (for a) political settlement," he said.