Russia urged Syria to implement a troop pullout plan more vigorously, but said a full ceasefire was only possible after the deployment of international monitors.
“We have frankly conveyed our view of the situation to our Syrian colleagues. We think they could have acted more actively, more decisively in implementing the plan’s provisions,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem on Tuesday.
“We have talked about this with utmost frankness,” Mr. Lavrov added addressing a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart.
Mr. Moallem claimed Damascus had withdrawn army units from “several Syrian provinces,” and released a number of detainees, but the rebels continued to attack government forces.
A peace plan proposed by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and endorsed by the U.N. Security Council called on Syria to begin the pullback of its troops from cities on April 10 and for a truce to start 48 hours later.
While stepping up pressure on Syria the Russian Foreign Minister demanded that Mr. Annan and Western powers do more to force the Syrian opposition to lay down arms.
Mr. Lavrov said Mr. Annan’s peace plan provided for the Syrian government to “take first steps” towards halting fire, but a “complete ceasefire” would be only possible if “all sides” cooperated with Mr. Annan and a monitoring mechanism was put in place.
“The earliest possible deployment of international observers in Syria has key importance for the success of the Annan mission,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.
The U.N. Security Council had tasked Mr. Annan with giving his proposals for a monitoring mission in Syria, but he is yet to come up a plan, Mr. Lavrov complained, saying the matter brooked no delay.
Mr. Lavrov proposed urgently sending the U.N. observers to Syria, currently deployed on the Golan Heights and said Russia had already agreed that its observers serving with the U.N. mission be relocated to Syria.