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Russia Ready to Back Annan Proposals on Syria in Security Council

RIA Novosti

15:54 20/03/2012 MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to support a UN Security Council resolution on Syria based on UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s proposals on how to resolve the crisis in the Arab country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

“We are ready to support Kofi Annan’s mission and proposals that he has passed to the Syrian side in the UN Security Council as a resolution, not even as a statement,” Lavrov told journalists in Moscow.

“Obviously, those proposals should first be published,” he said.

Former UN Secretary General Annan travelled to Syria last weekend to try to persuade President Bashar al-Assad to stop his crackdown on protesters, allow humanitarian aide to be supplied to violence-hit areas in Syria and launch a dialogue with opposition forces.

He left Damascus on March 11 without a deal, but said he had offered Assad “concrete proposals” and felt optimistic about his mission. Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said last week Damascus was interested in the success Annan's mission.

Lavrov said the Security Council should approve Annan’s proposals “not as an ultimatum;” it should “take into consideration the ongoing work and approve them as the basis for Kofi Annan’s efforts aimed at achieving reconciliation between all Syrians on all essential questions,” he said.

At the same time, he said, the Annan mission should not repeat the fate of that of the Arab League, which was frozen shortly after Arab monitors began working in Syria late last year.

“Unfortunately, we saw many times how various artificial obstacles emerged once some progress had been made in settling [the crisis],” he said.

Lavrov said he believed recent terrorist attacks in Syria were aimed at disrupting Annan’s efforts to restore peace in the country.

“Now that Kofi Annan’s mission, which was supported by everyone - at least verbally – has started to become part of a very complicated process that requires maximum concentration and maximum practical support – we face a series of events which do not contribute to the success of this mission,” he said. “Not to mention the terrorist attacks that took place in Damascus, Aleppo and other [Syrian] cities – those were obvious provocations designed to disrupt Annan’s mission.”

Two blasts hit the Syrian capital of Damascus almost simultaneously on Saturday, killing at least 27 people and injuring up to 100. Syrian state television said the car bomb explosions, which targeted intelligence and police buildings, were "terrorist" attacks.

The next day, a car bomb went off at a residential neighborhood in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. A report from Syrian state news agency SANA gave no information on casualties or damage, while the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the blast killed at least three civilians and wounded more than 25 others. The monitoring group said the blast had been close to a state security office.

The explosions came as a team of experts sent by Annan arrived in Damascus for talks on a monitoring operation to end the conflict.



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