(RIA NOVOSTI) — Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan in Moscow on July 17 to discuss the Syria crisis, the Kremlin press office reported on Sunday.
“In the course of the forthcoming visit, Russia intends to reaffirm its support for the peace plan proposed by Kofi Annan to settle the crisis in Syria by political and diplomatic means,” the press office said in a statement.
“Russia proceeds from the fact that this plan is the sole viable platform to solve internal Syrian problems,” the statement said.
Annan will arrive in Russia for a two-day visit on July 16-17.
“This is already the second visit by the special envoy to Moscow in the past four months,” the statement said.
The conflict, which began in March last year, has left between 13,000 and 17,000 people dead, according to Syrian rights activists quoted by the United Nations.
Russia has repeatedly voiced support for the Annan-proposed peace plan in Syria, which requires a ceasefire by the government forces and the armed opposition and the start of a political dialog between them.
The peace plan has failed so far and on Thursday western countries – members of the UN Security Council began talks on a Syria resolution that would give the government of President Bashar al-Assad ten days to comply with a previously agreed peace plan or face punishment ranging from diplomatic and economic sanctions to the use of military force under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.
Russia said on Thursday it would veto the Western-backed draft if it is put to a vote at the UN Security Council.
“We have stated repeatedly that Chapter 7 of the UN Charter is unacceptable to us,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.
Moscow and Beijing have twice vetoed Security Council resolutions that so much as hinted at sanctions againt the Assad government.
Russia has proposed its own draft resolution that would extend a UN monitoring mission to Syria for 90 days, without any threat of sanctions. (*)
SOURCE : RIA NOVOSTI
Posted Monday, July 16, 2012