Russia`s Putin assures Kofi Annan over Syria

The UN and Arab League envoy on Tuesday began his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Zeenews Bureau

Moscow: Assuring the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan over Syria, Russia on Tuesday said that it will do anything to support his efforts to establish peace in the strife-ridden nation.

Speaking after the meeting, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, "I don`t see a reason that we couldn`t agree in the Security Council. We are prepared for that."

Hoping to garner Russia’s assent over a fresh resolution over Syria, that would be debated tomorrow, Kofi Annan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin today.

At the beginning of the meeting, Putin sounded concordant when he said he would do anything to support Annan’s peace plan.

Praising Annan he said, “From your very first steps as the UN and as Arab League envoy we have been supporting you and your efforts aimed at restoring peace in Syria. We all know you as an honest and professional man, a man who enjoys very high popularity”.

Putin reaffirmed his support saying, “I want to ensure you that we will do anything that may depend on us to support your efforts."

After the meeting Annan said that he discussed the UNSC resolution and that he would continue the discussions for creating a consensus over Syria.

"I would hope that the council will continue its discussions and hopefully find a language that will pull everybody together for us to move forward on this critical issue," said Annan.

Annan is seeking support for his faltering peace plan, which put some 300 UN observers in Syria to monitor the implementation of a cease-fire – a ceasefire that never took place in reality.

Ahead of July 20, when UN’s Syria mission would expire, the council is trying to gather support over a resolution that is tied to chapter 7 of UN Charter, that authorises the use of military force if needed.

According to the Western-backed draft, sanctions could be imposed on Syria if it does not stop using heavy weapons and withdraw its troops from towns and cities within 10 days of the resolution’s adoption.

But, Russia has come up with its own draft version of resolution, which extends the UN mission in Syria for 90 days, without mentioning sanctions against Syria.

Russia has been constantly opposed to the use of military force in Syria and has in past, vetoed twice the UNSC resolutions stipulating sanctions against Syria.

Last month in Geneva, there was an agreement reached over Syria, saying that a transitional government should be set up. But while the United States, France and Britain took this to mean Assad must go, Russia and China disapprove of any term that makes it binding on Assad to leave.

Moreover, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday, accused West of ‘blackmailing’ Russia over Syria.

A news agency quoted Annan saying that Syria was at crossroads. Throughout the 17-month long conflict, almost 17, 000 Syrian have lost their lives, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

With Agency Inputs

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