Russia ready to host conference on Syria
Moscow: Moscow is ready to host an international conference on Syria to discuss peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
In order to help settle Syria's ongoing political crisis, Russia has proposed a UN conference that will gather together the countries that have influence on Syria's disparate forces.
Lavrov said Russia's initiative to hold an international conference on Syria should become "the sole format of supporting the efforts of fulfilling resolutions of the UN Security Council, which approved a peace plan by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan".
Moscow believes an international conference on Syria should be held under the aegis of the UN and should bring together the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Syria's neighbours -- Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, and also Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as the League of Arab States and the European Union.
In the efforts to settle the Syrian crisis, "the most topical task that remains today is to assist the fulfilment of the plan proposed by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and approved by the UN Security Council and remove problems impeding these efforts," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
According to UN estimates, about 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.