DAMASCUS/CAIRO, March 11 (Xinhua) -- International envoy Kofi Annan met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian capital Saturday and both expressed their views on the ongoing crisis in the Arab republic and the means to end it.
Assad said his country is ready to make honest efforts to solve the recent domestic unrest, according to the state-run SANA news agency.
"Any political dialogue can't succeed as long as there are armed groups, which foment anarchy and destabilize the country through targeting civilians, military personnel and smashing public and private properties," he told Annan, joint special envoy for Syria of the United Nations and Arab League (AL), in the meeting.
For his part, Annan said he rejected "foreign interference in Syrian affairs" and is committed "to working in a just, evenhanded and independent way" to achieve a peaceful solution.
According to a UN statement after the meeting, Annan also put forward several proposals regarding ending the violence, allowing humanitarian aid, releasing detainee and starting an inclusive political dialogue.
The former UN chief "expressed grave concern at the situation in Syria and urged the president to take concrete steps to end the current crisis," the statement said.
Annan said his first meeting with the president was "candid and comprehensive."
After his meeting with Assad Saturday, Annan met with opposition leaders, young activists and prominent businessmen.
The international envoy and the Syrian president will have a second meeting Sunday, after which Annan will leave for Doha, Qatar, as he plans to meet with some opposition leaders outside the country, according to UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
Also on Saturday in Cairo, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his counterparts from AL states and agreed on a formula of five points to resolve the crisis.
The five-point formula included the priorities set by Ban, AL Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby and Annan Friday, which are immediately ceasing violence, granting access to humanitarian aid and launching a inclusive political process.
It added that a neutral supervision mechanism and resisting all foreign intervention are also crucial to peacefully solving the crisis.
In a separate diplomatic effort, China, which also holds a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and worked with Russia to prevent the council from adopting lopsided resolutions on Syria, has sent a envoy to the Middle East.
The envoy, led by Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Ming, will head to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, two important political players in the region.
Zhang will exchange views with the Gulf Cooperation Council and the AL on the Syrian crisis, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said.