Change in Moscow stand? Russia urges Syria to accept ceasefire proposal
The U.N. Security Council is to consider Tuesday a draft declaration calling for "additional measures" if Syria does not accept mediation proposals of Kofi Annan, as clashes between soldiers and deserters continued, including in Damascus.
Russia, the unwavering ally of the Syrian regime, said it was ready to back a statement supporting the mission of the UN and Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan, provided that it is not an "ultimatum".
On the ground, the government troops continued their operations across the country, killing at least 13 civilians, while sporadic fighting between soldiers of the regular army and deserters continued in the heart of Damascus, according to activists. They said shots were heard at dawn in Arnous Square in the center of the capital and in the neighborhoods of Barze and Qaboun on the outskirts of Damascus.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has described as "intolerable and unacceptable "the situation in Syria, adding that it had become "one of the most disturbing and most concerning points for the international community ".
France proposed to the Security Council a statement, adopted by consensus, which has less weight than a resolution. This declaration calls for "a cessation of violence as soon as possible, a cease-fire, then allow access to humanitarian aid (...) and continue the political process because no one can not ignore the aspirations of the Syrian people," said the French foreign minister, Alain Juppe.
If the statement is adopted, the Council is committed to "consider additional and unspecified measures" if the proposals of Mr. Annan are not accepted within seven days.
The text calls on President Assad and opposition to " immediately and fully implement" Annan's six-point settlement plan, which includes the total cessation of violence.
Analysts have seen a slight sign of relaxation in Moscow's stance, as Russia had called on Damascus to "immediately accept" a ceasefire to facilitate the daily humanitarian assistance to civilians.