Russia, Arab League Agree Plan on Syria

Russia and the Arab League have negotiated a plan to settle the bloody political conflict in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday.

The plan proposes an end to violence by all sides, monitoring of the situation in Syria, provision of humanitarian aid to all Syrians, support for the UN special envoy Kofi Annan’s mission in the country and abstention from external interference in Syrian domestic affairs, Lavrov said after a meeting with his colleagues from the Arab League in Cairo.

“We think these five steps will be crucial. They are addressed to all parties in Syria,” Lavrov said.

Russia is supporting dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition, he said, and criticized Western countries for supporting the opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Lavrov also praised the United Nations plans to monitor the situation in Syria, where some 7,500 have been killed in a year-long conflict between Assad and his opponents according to UN estimates.

Kofi Annan, a former UN Secretary-General, was appointed last month as special envoy to Syria for both the UN and the Arab League.

Annan met with Assad in Damascus on Saturday, saying he wanted to negotiate a ceasefire between the opposition and the government forces and organize humanitarian help for regions affected by the fighting.

Assad blamed “armed terrorist groups” for the continuing bloodshed during the talks, reiterating the stance taken by his government since the fighting began in the country.

“Syria is ready to support any honest effort to solve the situation,” Assad said.

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