Lavrov to Hold Talks with Annan

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will hold telephone talks with the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan to get a “first-hand” account of the situation in Syria.

“We have agreed with Kofi Annan to speak over the telephone in the second half of the day,” Lavrov said, adding that Moscow would like to hear a “first-hand” account of the situation in Syria.

Commenting on the most serious recent massacre in the Houla township, in western Syria, where over 100 civilians, including dozens of children have been killed, Lavrov said that “some countries are trying to use the May 25 events [Houla’s slaughter] as a pretext to take up military measures and put pressure on the UN Security Council.”

Lavrov also said that the attack on Houla could be advantageous for those who could wanted to hamper the implementation of the Annan peace plan.

Syrian opposition activists have blamed the Houla killings on pro-government fighters, an accusation categorically denied by the Syrian authorities, who say the tragedy was a terrorist plot aimed at undermining the regime.

UN observers working in Syria have confirmed that tanks and artillery were used in the weekend attacks on the village, as well as that many of those killed were stabbed or shot at point-blank range, raising questions among observers about who could benefit from the tragedy.

Lavrov also said that the events taking place in Syria had already had effects in neighboring Lebanon and could have negative implications for other countries in the region.

Clashes have taken place recently in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, between elements of the Sunni population and local Allawites, the group from which Syria’s President Assad comes.

“It’s important to look at the situation around Syria, because the events which are going on there have already had an impact in Lebanon and could also have negative consequences in other countries in the region,” Lavrov stated.

“It is important that we all take maximum responsibility and don’t go throwing oil on the fire, but on the contrary, try to put it out and sit the sides down to the table for talks,” Lavrov said.



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