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Annan plan unique opportunity to avoid civil war in Syria-opinion

April 24, 2012, 1:55 UTC+3

“There was exchange of information and considerations about the attitudes, also of the Syrian opposition,” Bogdanov noted

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COPENHAGEN, April 24 (Itar-Tass) —— Representatives of the Russian and Danish foreign ministries on Monday discussed here the problems of the so-called “Arab Spring” and the situation in the Arab world with the emphasis on the situation in Syria, Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East and deputy foreign minister, told Itar-Tass. Claus Grube, the permanent secretary of state of Denmark’s Foreign Ministry, participated in the consultations.

“There is much interest in these problems in view of the need for rallying international efforts to fulfill resolutions and, on the whole, the plan of special envoy of the UN and Arab League Kofi Annan,” Bogdanov said. “There is common awareness that the Annan plan offers a unique opportunity to avoid civil war in Syria and start a political process that would enable Syrians themselves to get down to the negotiating table to decide the destiny of their country without external interference and without any recipes being imposed from the outside, which, in our opinion, would be counterproductive and unrealistic,” Bogdanov said.

“The Danish colleagues informed us that Denmark, unlike a number of other Western states, preserved the diplomatic mission in Damascus. We proceed from the view that the Danish partners are aware of the importance of preserving contacts with Damascus,” the Russian deputy foreign minister said. “There was exchange of information and considerations about the attitudes, also of the Syrian opposition,” he noted.

“The question of the Arab-Israeli settlement and the Palestinian problem, in view of Russia’s role in the international mediators’ Quartet, was touched upon at the consultations,” Bogdanov noted. The Danish colleagues were posted on the latest meeting of the Quartet in Washington on April 11 and on the upcoming Second inter-Palestinian meeting due in the Moscow region with the participation of representatives of all Palestinian groups to bring closer their approaches to the Middle East settlement, solution of the Palestinian problem and advancement of inter-Palestinian reconciliation on the UN constructive political platform. We met with considerable understanding of the Danish partners on many aspects of these problems. They are for the solution of the Arab-Israeli and Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of creating two states, of Palestine and Israel, that would live in security and peace,” the deputy foreign minister said.

The problem of fighting piracy off the Somalian coast was given much attention, Bogdanov noted.

“At the request of Danish partners we have informed them of our views regarding Iran’s nuclear program. We proceed from the view that there is a need to create a constructive atmosphere for specific contacts with Iran on this matter, including enhancement of effectiveness of interaction between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Bogdanov said.

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