Moscow urged the international community to maintain the presence of UN monitors in Syria and uphold the Geneva agreements, following the resignation of UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan on Thursday, in a statement on its Foreign Ministry website on Friday.
“Despite all the difficulties the UN mission in Syria faces, it remains an important element of international support for the rights of Syrians to determine the path of their country's independent democratic development,” the ministry said in a statement.
The UN security Council voted unanimously on July 23 to extend the UN monitoring mission in Syria, consisting of several hundred peacekeepers, for 30 days.
“Annan’s peace plan as well as the Geneva agreements retain their significance as a reference point for the peaceful solution of the Syrian problems,” the Russian Foreign Ministry added, and criticized Western countries and the Syrian opposition for “doing nothing” to set up a political dialogue in Syria.
“Unfortunately, the Syrian opposition has persistently dismissed all proposals to hold a political dialogue. Our Western partners, some regional states that could influence the opposition, have done nothing for it,” the ministry said.
The Foreign Ministry’s statement comes after UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon said on Thursday that Annan would not extend his mandate as the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, which expires on August 31.
On June 30, foreign ministers of the "action group" on Syria, which includes the Western powers, Russia and China, held talks in Geneva where they called for creation of a "transitional government body with full executive powers" in Syria.
The conflict, which began in March 2011, has already claimed up to 20,000 lives, according to Syrian activists, with the international community failing to persuade the Assad government and opposition forces to stop fighting and begin dialogue.