Russia warns West against ‘sabotage’ of Syria deal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens to a question at a press conference after a meeting with Cyprus foreign minister Erato Kozakou Marcoullis in Moscow, Russia, July 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Russia said Wednesday it would not let Western powers “sabotage” a political transition accord to end the escalating conflict in Syria that was reached in Geneva at the end of June.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Western states of fomenting violence by openly supporting the armed opposition and said Russia expected a formal answer within a matter of days on whether they backed the accord.
“What was accomplished in Geneva should not be sabotaged,” Lavrov told reporters while on a a visit to Belarus.
“We will be trying to get an answer from our (Western) partners within literally the coming days about whether they support what they signed off on in Geneva.
“If so, why are they not taking measures to implement it?” Lavrov demanded.
World powers on June 30 had agreed on a Russian-backed transition plan in Switzerland that did not make an explicit call for President Bashar Assad to quit power.
The West swiftly made clear it saw no role for Assad in a unity government and the plan’s future now looks to be in further peril because of the announced resignation of top Syria crisis mediator Kofi Annan.
Russian officials said Wednesday they wanted to keep a suspended UN monitoring mission in Syria operating in some form after its mandate expires on August 19.

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