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‘Annan offers last chance for Syria’

Last Updated: Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 22:18

Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
warned today that Kofi Annan represented the last chance for
avoiding a civil war in Syria and offered the UN-Arab League
envoy Moscow`s full support.

"This may be the last chance for Syria to avoid a
protracted and bloody civil war," Russian agencies quoted
Medvedev as telling Annan at a meeting held in Moscow`s
Vnukovo 2 airport before his departure for a summit in Seoul.

"We will be offering you our full support at any level in
which we have a say," said Mededev. "We very much hope that
your efforts have a positive outcome."

Annan said he needed Russia`s strong backing to succeed
in ending a year of bloodshed that the opposition says has
claimed more than 9,100 lives.

Russian news agencies quoted Annan as saying he expected
Russia to play an "active" role in making sure that both sides
follow the points of the UN Security Council-backed Syria
peace plan.

Neither Annan nor Medvedev made any specific reference
to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or the opposition`s
demands on his immediate ouster.

Annan preceded his talks with Medvedev with a private
meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Russian
officials said agreed on the need for "further efforts" by
world and regional powers to resolve the crisis.

"Both sides underscored the importance of working with
both the government and the opposition," Interfax quoted
Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying.

Russia had said in advance of Annan`s visit that it
wanted the West to apply stronger pressure on the opposition
forces to lay down their arms.

Moscow has also been playing down the influence it has
over its Arab world ally and this month accused Assad of
refusing to listen to Russia`s suggestions on resolving the
crisis. (AFP)


First Published: Sunday, March 25, 2012 - 22:18

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