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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia Ready to Discuss UN Peacekeeping Mission to Syria - Deputy FM

RIA Novosti

21:13 04/11/2012 CAIRO, November 4 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is ready to discuss sending international monitors and a UN peacekeeping mission to Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Sunday.

At a meeting on Syria in Geneva on June 30, foreign ministers from UN Security Council permanent member states and from Syria’s neighbors proposed establishing a transitional Syrian government that would comprise both the Syrian authorities and opposition forces, but incessant fighting in Syria has made it impossible to launch a dialogue so far.

“We are ready to discuss ways of implementing this document [the Geneva statement of the Action Group for Syria], with an emphasis on building up the dialog in Syria in the conditions of a full and guaranteed ceasefire. When we say “guaranteed,” we [mean that we] are ready to consider the issue of sending observers and UN peacekeepers, agreed with the Syrian government,” Bogdanov said ahead of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s meeting with UN and Arab League special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.

“The idea is to reach local ceasefire [agreements] between the government and the opposition through international mediation,” he said, adding that a ceasefire at one region might serve as a positive example for other areas.

The Russian deputy foreign minister also expressed concern that the opposition has so far failed to unite on the basis of the Geneva communique.

“As there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis, the solution can be political and it can be found at the negotiating table,” he said.

The Syrian conflict has claimed more than 20,000 lives according to estimates by various sources. The West is pushing for President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria, saying that the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed.

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