Russia has deeply regretted Kofi Annan’s resignation as United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria and pledged continued support to his plan for ending violence in that country.

Expressing ‘profound regret’ over Mr Annan’s decision to quit at the end of August, the Russian Foreign Ministry said his peace plan for Syria nevertheless “retains relevance as a roadmap for peaceful settlement of the Syrian problems.”

Moscow blamed the failure of peace efforts in Syria so far on Western powers and regional players, who “have done nothing” to bear upon the opposition to comply with Annan plan.

“Worse still, they have continued to give political, moral, material and financial support for the Syrian opposition groups in violation of the decisions of U.N. Security Council and the Geneva conference, thereby effectively encouraging the intransigence of the anti-government forces,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Friday.

Russia has called for urgently finding a successor to Mr Annan.

“It is particularly important in the current situation to maintain U.N. presence [in Syria],” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“Despite all difficulties the U.N. mission in Syria has encountered, it remains an important factor of international support for the Syrian people’s legitimate wishes to chart themselves the path of their country’s independent development in the interests of all Syrians,” the Russian statement said.

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