Russia warns West against ultimatums on Syria

Last Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 16:39

Bishkek: Russia on Thursday warned the West
against using threats and ultimatums in its approach to
Syria`s regime as the United Nations prepared a statement on
the protracted conflict.

"Russia proceeds from a deep conviction that any steps
around Syria should be aimed at facilitating the success of
UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan`s mission," Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"The Syrian government has accepted his proposals, has
begun implementing them, and it is very important right now
not to undermine this process through ultimatums and threats
and unfortunately there are those who`d like to do that," he
said.

"Russia can back the UN Security Council document on Syria
if it facilitates the implementation of Kofi Annan`s plan,"
Lavrov told reporters during a visit to the ex-Soviet Central
Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan.

"When we debate the document at the Security Council we
will proceed from the principle `do no harm`," he said in the
capital Bishkek.

"If we manage to work out a consensus which would be aimed
at facilitating Kofi Annan`s efforts and not using the
Security Council for threats and ultimatums that could provoke
tensions... if this happens when we vote then it would not be
bad."

"But we will see, this does not depend only on us," Lavrov
added.

The year-long conflict between Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad`s regime and rebels shows no signs of abating, and
the United Nations has said it was rushing a team to Damascus
to pave the way for peace monitors.

A draft UN Security Council statement has been drawn up
asking Syria to respect an April 10 deadline to halt its
military operations in protest cities.

The draft also urges the Syrian opposition to cease
hostilities within 48 hours after the Assad regime makes good
on its pledges. Negotiations on the text -- distributed by
Britain, France and the United States -- began on Tuesday.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 16:39

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