Photo: Getty Images/Salah Malkawi
In perhaps a not-so-surprising volte-face, Russia has announced its willingness to support a UN resolution endorsing Kofi Annan’s plan to resolve the Syrian crisis, the AP reports.
The announcement comes after Russia and China have twice vetoed UN sanctions against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s regime, signaling what could be growing impatience at the Kremlin with Assad. On Monday, Russia also called for a ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into the war-torn country.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the resolution shouldn’t be viewed as an ultimatum to the Syrian government, “but as a basis for the continuing efforts by Kofi Annan aimed at reaching accord between all the Syrians, the government and all opposition groups on all key issues.” The protests have killed almost 8,000 people, the UN says.
Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general who is the joint UN and Arab League special envoy, met twice with Assad earlier this month and made proposals to end the bloodshed, which haven’t yet been made public.
While Annan left Damascus without a deal, Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said last week Damascus was interested in the success of Annan’s mission, Ria Novosti reports. Lavrov says Annan’s plan doesn’t contain a demand for Assad to step down.
The UN Security Council will meet later Tuesday to debate a French draft statement on possible “further measures” if the Syrian government does not accept Annan’s plan, according to Voice of America.
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