The UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan proposed on Wednesday to create an interim Syrian government that would include both opposition figures and those loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, Al Arabiya reported on Thursday.
According to the Al Arabiya, Russia which is a long-time Syrian ally, has voiced support for the transitional government plan. But it is unclear whether Moscow will agree to abandon Assad.
Apart from Russia, another four permanent members of the UN Security Council, including Britain, France, China and the United States, have also backed the idea, Al Arabiya reported.
Annan’s initiative comes almost three months after the implementation of the six-point peace which was followed by a deadly massacre in the village of Houla, as well as numerous attacks in Damascus and other Syrian regions.
The new plan will be discussed at the meeting in Geneva on Saturday where the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar are expected to participate.
Speaking about the forthcoming talks, U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said on Wednesday that Washington was “increasingly optimistic about the support that he [Annan] has gotten for his plan.”
Nuland reiterated that the United States would call for a transition government, but refused to elaborate whether Washington would urge Assad’s overthrow at the talks.
“There needs to be a complete ceasefire that is observed by all sides, that we must have a transition government that reflects the views and the needs of Syrians of all stripes – men, women, minorities, the various different ethnic and political groupings, et cetera – and that we’ve got to have human rights and rule of law respected in the transition period, and this transition has got to lead to free, fair, transparent elections,” Nuland said.
Prior to Saturday’s talks, the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet on Friday with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in St.Petersburg to “make clear to Russia that… it is a bad idea to be arming the Assad regime as we work towards this – towards a transition,” Nuland said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Syria needs a transformation which would bring national accord.
“We support transformation, which would go in the direction of national accord on all questions of immiment and long overdue reform,” Lavrov said at a briefing in Moscow.
Russia’s arms deliveries to Syria sparked a diplomatic row earlier this month when Clinton blamed Moscow of supplying weapons that would be used against civilians. Lavrov however denied the claim, saying that Moscow was implementing the contracts that had been signed long time ago.
On Thursday, the head of the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, Alexander Fomin said that Russia would deliver the first consignment of three Mil Mi-25 helicopter gunships for Syria as a part of the contract signed in 2008.
According to the latest data released on Thursday by the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group, over 15,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising against Assad started more than a year ago.