Russia Changes Stance on Syria

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov signaled a shift in his country’s position vis-à-vis the ongoing crisis in Syria, indicating that Russia may be willing to cooperate more with the U.N. Security Council’s proposed plan, but with some stipulations. –KA

The New York Times:

Mr. Lavrov’s statement suggested that Russia had dropped its adamant position regarding Mr. Assad and was moving closer to the position of Western members of the Security Council. He made it clear, though, that Russia would approve a resolution or other statement only under certain conditions — principally, that the statement’s wording does not present Mr. Assad with an ultimatum, but rather sets the stage for negotiations between Syria’s government and the opposition forces embroiled in a year-old conflict.

He also emphasized Russia’s support for the mission to Syria by Kofi Annan, the former secretary general who was appointed as a special representative of the United Nations and Arab League. Mr. Lavrov said Mr. Annan’s recommendations should be made public. Though Mr. Annan has met twice with Mr. Assad, his report has remained confidential.

Mr. Lavrov bridled at comments by Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the State Department, welcoming “an evolution in Russia’s public position” on Syria.

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