Moscow Calls for Meeting on Annan Plan Support

Countries that have influence on the Syrian opposition should hold a meeting to outline measures in support of the peace plan proposed by the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

“We would consider it necessary to hold a meeting with the states that really influence various opposition forces in Syria. There not so many of them – the UN Security Council’s permanent members, leading countries in the region, Turkey, Iran, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation,” Lavrov said, adding the EU could also join.

Lavrov said these organizations and countries should agree to adhere to the Annan peace plan.

The Russian Foreign Minister reiterated Moscow’s stance on implementing the Annan plan and said Russia would not countenance attempts to abandon it “like the Free Syrian Army and Syrian National Council have recently done.”

On May 26, the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) said it would not adhere to the Annan peace plan unless the UN Security Council ensures safety for civilians. The FSA’s statement came the day after a massacre in Houla, a town in Homs province, where over 100 civilians were killed.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that the Annan plan “remains central” to halting more than 15-months of bloodshed in Syria. The UN has sent 300 observers to Syria to monitor a ceasefire that has failed to take hold since it was supposed to come into force on April 12.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday that the alliance would not interfere in Syrian affairs. Rasmussen also ruled out the scenario of the military intervention in the country.

Meanwhile, Syrian opposition says it is hoping for Russia’s assistance in the peaceful settlement of the deep political crisis in the country.

“We are hoping that Russia will take an active part in negotiations between Syrian authorities and the opposition,” member of the Paris-based Syrian National Council (SNC) Mahmoud Al-Hamza said during a roundtable meeting at RIA Novosti in Moscow on Wednesday.

“Russia, along with China, is the only country that can apply pressure on the Syrian regime,” he said.

Al-Hamza added, though, that the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remained the main condition for any productive talks between the authorities and the opposition.

The UN says over 10,000 people have died since the revolt against President Bashar Assad’s 11-year rule began last year.


Leave a comment