Moscow proposes second meeting of the Syria Action Group

Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged full support to Syria peace mediator Kofi Annan and promised to seek a consensus resolution in the U.N. Security Council on extending the international monitoring mission in Syria.

“From the very start, from the first steps, we supported and continue to support all efforts aimed at restoring civil peace,” Mr. Putin told Mr. Annan at the start of their Kremlin meeting on Tuesday.

“I want to assure you that we will do everything to support your efforts,” the Russian leader stressed.

The United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria responded by saying that “the Syrian crisis is at a critical turning point.”

Mr. Putin also offered to try and hammer out a compromise with Western nations in the Security Council on a resolution extending the U.N. monitoring mission in Syria which runs out on July 21.

Russia and the West have tabled two draft resolutions. Moscow said it would block the Western draft because it threatens sanctions and military action against the Syrian government if it failed to stop using force against the rebels within 10 days.

The Western powers have slammed the Russian draft which calls on both sides in the Syrian conflict to lay down arms simultaneously.

“Russia is ready to work [with Western powers],” said Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov briefing reporters on the Putin-Annan meeting.

“We drove a hard compromise at the Geneva conference [of the Syria Action Group on June 30] called by Mr Annan. I see no reason why we cannot reach agreement on the same principles in the Security Council,” he said.

Mr. Annan said, “I would hope that we will continue discussions and hopefully find a language that will pull everybody together for us to move forward on this critical issue.”

It is Mr. Annan’s second visit since he was appointed special envoy and his first meeting with Mr Putin after the latter reclaimed presidency in May.

Moscow has proposed to Mr Annan to convene a second meeting of the Syria Action Group of world powers at the sub-ministerial level in Moscow at the end of July. The first meeting of the Action Group was held in Geneva on June 30.

More In: International | News