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Putin says Moscow will support Kofi Annan’s efforts for Syrian settlement.

July 17, 2012, 17:47 UTC+3

He said he was sorry to come to Moscow on such a tragic occasion and expressed the hope he would be able to come here when he no longer had such responsibility on his shoulders

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MOSCOW, July 17 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed that Moscow would do its best to support the mission of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan for the Syrian settlement.

“I would like to assure that we will do our best to support your efforts,” Putin said at a meeting with Kofi Annan in the Kremlin.

He said it was a pity he had to “resume relations [with Annan] on such a tragic occasion,” as the situation in Syria. “From the very beginning, from the very first steps, we have been supporting all efforts aimed at reaching civil peace,” Putin stressed.

He also noted that Annan id known “as a very decent and professional man who enjoys high popularity and confidence.”

In turn, Kofi Annan described the current situation in Syria as a “key turning point.” In his words, the Syrian crisis is at a turning point now.

He said he was sorry to come to Moscow on such a tragic occasion and expressed the hope he would be able to come here when he no longer had such responsibility on his shoulders.

Ahead of the meeting, the Kremlin’s press service said that “it is planned to reiterate Russia's support for Kofi Annan’s peace plan for politico-diplomatic settlement of the crisis in Syria." The Russian side believes that "the plan is the only viable solution platform for settlement of Syria’s internal problems."

On Monday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with Annan. He stressed that Moscow pays much attention to the contacts with the special envoy.

The Russian position is that the peace plan of six items, offered by Annan, which provides for a politico-diplomatic settlement of the Syrian crisis and which was confirmed by the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 2042, thus binding on all the parties, is the only real basis for further actions.

According to Moscow, the major condition is synchronism and equality of demands of the international community to all the parties to the conflict. Thus, ceasefire can be only synchronized, to be followed by simultaneous withdrawal of both government and opposition groups from all communities. Such a provision was included in the United Nations Security Council’s draft resolutions which Russia had presented in New York. In addition, Moscow intends to seek an extension of the UN Mission’s mandate.

Russia has stressed repeatedly that it proceeds from the need to create conditions for finding a consensus by the Syrians, without taking sides with any of the parties in the conflict, trying to prevent destabilization of the Syrian state, its collapse and subsequent degradation of the whole region. The role of external players, according to Lavrov, should be to encourage all and everyone fighting in Syria to meet the requirements of ceasefire and start a dialogue to set parameters for the political process.

At the same time, Moscow rejects categorically the need for coercive measures for which Western countries are calling by insisting on the priority implementation of resolutions 2042 and 2043 of the UN Security Council. "All the issues related to reforming of the political system and determination of parameters and timing for the transition period should be settled by the Syrians through a dialogue between the government and all opposition groups, exactly like it is proposed by the Annan Plan and the Geneva communique", Lavrov said.


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