It appears UN Syrian peace envoy Kofi Annan’s idea of a transitional national unity cabinet bringing the Syrian regime and opposition together to map a way out of the crisis may have gained a powerful backer.
Russia says it will support the idea, but insists this does not mean it is taking a step back from Bashar al-Assad, who retains Moscow’s favour.
But among the debris of Syria’s shattered cities lies the UN’s broken monitoring mission. Annan’s plan desperately needs reviving if the suffering of civilians is to end, and pressure on the overcrowded refugee camps across the border in Turkey is to be eased.
Russia says it will take the pro-Annan position when the UN permanent Security Council and other key players meet in Geneva this weekend.
One of Annan’s envoys said any figure whose participation is likely to undermine the cabinet will be excluded, and the Syrian opposition immediately said the plan would require Assad to step down before any cabinet could meet.