Russia warns West against ultimatums on Syria
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Last Updated: Thursday, April 05, 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 05, 2012, 16:39


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