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Clinton calls Syria cease-fire only a first step

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is welcoming the apparent cease-fire between the Syrian government and opposition forces. But she says a pause in hostilities is only a first step, and that the Syrian government must withdraw troops from cities and accept a political transition.

Clinton wants the pressure kept up on the Syrian government to comply with all elements of former U.N. chief Kofi Annan's plan to end more than a year of deadly violence.

She says Syrian President Bashar Assad can't "pick and choose" which parts of the agreement he wants to accept. She adds that the U.S. supports sending a U.N. mission to Syria to monitor compliance.

Her comments came after a meeting Thursday in Washington of foreign ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized democracies.