Annan is 'last chance' to avoid Syria civil war, says Russian President Dmitri Medvedev


UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan speaks to the press on March 16, 2012 in Geneva after a videoconference briefing of the United Nations Security Council. Annan said today he would send a technical team to Damascus next week to discuss setting up an international monitoring mission for Syria.


Philippe Merle

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is fully backing UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace mission in Syria, saying it may be the last chance to avoid a "prolonged and bloody civil war," BBC reported.

Medvedev met with Annan Sunday in Moscow and urged him to work with both the Syrian government and opposition, underscoring his support "at any level," wrote the Associated Press.

Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, emphasized "the need to end violence from all sides and establish a broad Syrian political dialogue."

Annan has been seeking to persuade Russia to take a firmer stance against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. He later goes to China which has also backed Syria at the UN.

More from GlobalPost: 24 dead as violence hits Homs, Syrian towns

The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday passed a non-binding "presidential statement" endorsing Annan's peace plan, CNN reported

Beijing and Moscow, who have twice vetoed Security Council resolutions on Syria, voted for the statement.

The six-point plan calls for the facilitation of humanitarian aid access, ceasefire, political dialogue, prisoner releases, and freedom of movement for foreign journalists.

On Sunday, activists reported further casualties in the Homs area, killing at least five people, according to the BBC.

Human Rights Watch has accused Syrian government forces of using civilians as human shields.

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