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Russia hopes UN representative for Syria to join Action Group efforts

August 18, 2012, 4:54 UTC+3
The Action Group was to discuss Moscow’s draft statement setting a deadline for the conflicting parties in Syria to end violence and enter into peace talks
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UNITED NATIONS, August 18 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia hopes the UN and LAS special envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, will join the work of the Action Group. Its meeting was postponed on Friday at the request of the Western countries, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin told the media.

The Action Group was to discuss Moscow’s draft statement setting a deadline for the conflicting parties in Syria to end violence and enter into peace talks.

“Some members of the Action Group expressed their readiness to come to that meeting to discuss our document, while the Western members of the Action Group said they were not prepared for this. All offered a variety of excuses,” Churkin said.

“We said we postpone the meeting, thereby giving them more time to think it all over. We hope that the new joint special envoy will join this work,” he added. “We shall wait and see. We shall be working in accordance with the readiness (of the parties) and the stance of the newly-appointed envoy.”

The meeting of the Action Group for Syria was to be held at the level of UN ambassadors in the same format as the consultations in Geneva on June 30 – Russia, Britain, the United States, China, France, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar.

Two hours after the Action Group’s meeting was postponed it was announced that in the wake of Kofi Annan’s resignation from the position of UN and LAS envoy for Syria Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi was taking over. According to some sources Brahimi agreed to take this position on the condition it will be called joint special UN and LAS representative for Syria, and not special envoy. Also, Brakhimi demanded amendments to his powers.

The Algerian diplomat will be working in a situation slightly different from the one his predecessor had to deal with. The mandate of the UN ceasefire mission will expire on Monday. It will be replaced by the coordination bureau of the organization in Damascus. The bureau’s deployment has been approved by the UN Security Council and agreed with the Syrian authorities.

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