Russia: No progress in Syria

April 18, 2012 at 1:15 PM

MOSCOW, April 18 (UPI) -- The Kremlin hasn't seen progress in the cease-fire in Syria but wants outside groups to stay out of the process, an official said.

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan helped broker a six-point agreement to end the hostilities in Syria. A cease-fire was to go into effect April 12 though violence has escalated in the country since the deadline passed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying the Kremlin hopes Damascus responds to Annan's initiatives but "we don't see any progress in implementing (it)."

Lavrov was quoted by the official Syrian Arab News Agency as saying armed opposition groups were behind the continuing violence in the country.

He said he was concerned that groups like the Friends of Syria were interfering in Annan's peace process.

"I would like to stress with full responsibility that the Annan Plan has been accepted in its entirety by the U.N. Security Council, and only the U.N. Security Council has the right to evaluate the implementation of this plan," he said.

A team of U.N. monitors is in Syria to observe the terms of the cease-fire.

The Local Coordination Committees in Syria, an umbrella organization in the country, said shelling continued Wednesday.

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