UN Syria envoy Kofi Annan to visit Russia

March 22nd, 2012 - 10:17 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, March 22 (IANS/RIA Novosti) UN envoy to Syria Kofi Annan will visit Moscow in the very near future to discuss the situation in the Middle East country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Annan’s visit, due “in the next few days”, is designed to signal “consolidation and support” for international efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria, Lavrov said in Berlin.

The former UN secretary general travelled to Damascus March 10-11 to try to persuade President Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces to end violence, begin dialogue and allow humanitarian aid to violence-hit areas.

He left Syria without a deal, but said he had offered Assad “concrete proposals”.

Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said Damascus was interested in the success of Annan’s mission.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday that Annan would return to Syria “very soon”.

Ban said more than 8,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of an uprising against al-Assad a year ago.

Syrian human rights groups have estimated the toll at 9,100, while the government says some 2,000 police and security officers have been killed by members of “armed terrorist gangs”.

The UN Security Council was considering a draft statement backing Annan’s mission to halt the crisis. Russia said it was ready to back a UN resolution based on the envoy’s plan.

Russia and China vetoed a Security Council resolution blaming al-Assad for the violence, saying both the government and opposition forces should be held responsible.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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