Iran seeks greater diplomatic role over Syria

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Iran seeks greater diplomatic role over Syria

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UN special envoy Kofi Annan has said the situation in Syria has reached a “critical point”. He was speaking in Moscow where he met Vladimir Putin in an effort to save his struggling peace plan.

The Russian president replied that Moscow still backed the envoy’s six-point plan, which calls for a ceasefire and talks between government and opposition.

“You know that from the very beginning of your work as a UN and Arab League special envoy we supported and still support all your efforts to rebuild civil peace in Syria,” said Putin.

The meeting came on the eve of another attempt by Western countries to present to the UN Security Council a new draft resolution threatening sanctions against Damascus. Russia, as one of the five permanent members, has already blocked two Western resolutions since the beginning of the conflict.

Meanwhile Iran has indicated that it is ready to play a more active role in mediation efforts.

The Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said: “Iran’s solution is that the opposition and the (Syrian) government should sit down and talk, within the framework set out by Kofi Annan in his six-point plan and the supplementary one. His plan could be effective in resolving the crisis in Syria.”

The move is likely to be rebuffed by rebel groups, who have rejected negotiations with the Damascus regime and have criticised Tehran for backing Syria.