Putin to meet Annan to discuss Syria crisis

UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan will arrive in Russia for a two-day visit July 16-17.

Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow on July 17 to discuss the Syria crisis, the Kremlin said.

"In the course of the forthcoming visit, Russia intends to reaffirm its support for the peace plan proposed by Kofi Annan to settle the crisis in Syria by political and diplomatic means," a statement said on Sunday.

"Russia proceeds from the fact that this plan is the sole viable platform to solve internal Syrian problems," it said.

Annan will arrive in Russia for a two-day visit July 16-17. This would be the second visit to Moscow by the special envoy in four months.

The conflict, which began in March last year, has left between 13,000 and 17,000 people dead, according to Syrian rights activists quoted by the UN.

Russia has repeatedly voiced support for the Annan-proposed peace plan in Syria, which requires a ceasefire by the government forces and the armed opposition and the start of a political dialogue between them.

The peace plan has failed so far. On Thursday, western countries - members of the UN Security Council - began talks on a Syria resolution and gave President Bashar al-Assad 10 days to comply with a previously agreed peace plan or face punishment ranging from diplomatic and economic sanctions to the use of military force.

Russia said it would veto the Western-backed draft if it is put to a vote at the UN Security Council.