Moscow Hits Out at Attempts to ‘Wreck’ Annan Plan for Syria

UN envoy Kofi Annan’s plan for Syria is in jeopardy over attempts by certain forces to create a spiral of violence in the country, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Friday.

“Certain elements in Syria are trying to wreck the implementation of Kofi Annan’s plan to restart the spiral of violence,” Alexander Lukashevich said.

Moscow is concerned about Burhan Ghalioun, the chairman of the Syrian opposition Transitional National Council, calling on some nations to arm the Free Syrian Army opposition group, Lukashevich said.

“We are puzzled by the statement that the recently reelected leader of the Transitional National Council, Mr. Ghalioun, made under a new strategy to establish the National Council’s political control over Syrian rebels in a bid to topple Bashar al-Assad,” Lukashevich said.

Lukashevich said Ghalioun, a French Syrian political scientist, had openly supported efforts to supply arms to the Free Syrian Army and made it clear that the political opposition planned to “arrange it with some countries to provide weapons to the Free Syrian Army as they had promised.”

Russia and China have vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions over what they called a pro-rebel bias since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, but have given their full backing to the peace plan proposed by the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan.

Russia does not rule out that the number of UN observers in Syria may be increased if necessary, Lukashevich said.

Over 200 UN observers have been deployed in Syria to monitor the ceasefire between the government and armed rebels.

“It is possible that at a certain stage a discussion could arise about the need to expand this mission,” Lukashevich said.

“In principle, it is a prerogative of the UN Security Council to make a decision to strengthen the material and human potential of its representatives in Syria,” he said.

Lukashevich said he was not aware of any requests from UN observers in Syria to equip them with weapons.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday the number of terrorist attacks in Syria has increased since UN observers arrived in the country.




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