16:17 GMT +323 January 2019
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    Moscow Criticizes Call to Arm Syrian Opposition

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    Calls by some of the countries in the Friends of Syria People group to supply arms and render logistical support to the Syrian opposition are at odds with the Syrian peace plan outlined in the UN-backed Annan Plan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

    Calls by some of the countries in the Friends of Syria People group to supply arms and render logistical support to the Syrian opposition are at odds with the Syrian peace plan outlined in the UN-backed Annan Plan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

    Russia is demanding the implementation of Annan’s peace plan in full, he said.

    “We are urging the complete fulfillment of all the six points of Kofi Annan’s plan,” he said.

    Kofi Annan has a mandate from the UN Secretary General, Lavrov said, “and only the UN Security Council can judge on how its proposals are being carried out, and by whom.”

    He also said Russia is planning to host meetings with two Syrian opposition groups, “representing three parts of the opposition,” in Moscow soon.

    There should be no artificial deadlines on the resolution of the Syria issue, he stressed.

    Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier in the day that statements made in Istanbul concerning direct, military and logistical support of the Syrian opposition “run counter to the goal of a peaceful settlement of the Syrian problem.”

    Russia declined to participate in the Friends of Syria summit in Istanbul on April 1. Moscow supports implementation of the Annan Plan, which has received the backing of all members of the UN Security Council.

    “Unfortunately, the meeting in Istanbul was one-sided. There were no representatives of Syrian government, no authoritative groups of Syrian political opposition took part in it,” Zakharova said.

    The plan proposed by UN special envoy to Syria Kofi Annan calls for a UN-monitored end to the violence in Syria, provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need and launch an inclusive political dialogue. The proposals were unanimously supported by the UN Security Council on March 21.

    “We must not incite violence among Syrians but, as the Annan Plan stipulates, seek and ensure a prompt cease-fire and end to the violence from all sides, establish a broad Syrian dialogue, find solutions acceptable to all Syrians. We believe that is the ‘protection’ of Syrian people about which so much was said in Istanbul. That is the only way to ensure the rights of the Syrian people themselves without external intervention to determine their own destiny, including the election of legitimate leaders of the country and its representative bodies,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

     

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