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Mar 11, 2012 2:12 PM by Matt Stafford

Annan 'optimistic' about Syria, but no deal yet

BEIRUT (AP) - U.N. peace envoy Kofi Annan says he is optimistic following two sets of talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad, but there is still no deal in place to end the bloodshed.

Annan briefed reporters in the Syrian capital, Damascus, on Sunday after his meetings with Assad. He said it's important that the crisis not degenerate further.

During Annan's two-day visit, Syrian forces kept up an offensive against rebel strongholds in the north of the country.

The bloodshed has cast a pall over U.N. efforts to end the country's yearlong conflict, with both the regime and the opposition refusing talks with the other.

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