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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Syria Envoy to Visit Moscow

RIA Novosti

17:54 21/03/2012 BERLIN, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan will visit Moscow in the very near future, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

Annan’s visit, due “in the next few days,” is designed to signal “consolidation and support” for international efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria, Lavrov, who is on a visit to Germany, told journalists in Berlin.

Former UN Secretary General Annan travelled to Damascus on March 10-11 to try to persuade President Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces to end violence, begin dialogue and allow humanitarian aide to be supplied to violence-hit areas in Syria.

He left Syria without a deal, but said he had offered Assad “concrete proposals.” Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said last week Damascus was interested in the success Annan's mission.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon said earlier on Wednesday that Annan would return to Syria “very soon.”

Ban said last week more than 8,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of an uprising against Assad a year ago. Syrian human rights groups have estimated the death toll at 9,100, while the government says some 2,000 police and security officers have been killed by members of “armed terrorist gangs.”

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council is considering a draft statement backing Annan's mission to halt the crisis. Russia called on Tuesday for Annan’s peace proposals to be published, saying it was ready to back a UN resolution based the envoy’s plan.

Russia, along with China, has vetoed a Security Council resolution blaming Assad for the violence, saying both the government and opposition forces should be held responsible.

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