Russia calls for unity on Syria

Oct. 29, 2012 at 9:24 AM
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MOSCOW, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Russian officials say it is essential that all outside parties use whatever influence they have to encourage an end to the fighting in Syria, a minister said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Monday with Syrian peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi as a truce in Syria for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha collapsed.

Lavrov said all interested parties should encourage both sides to lay down their weapons.

"Our main task at this stage is to get all the Syrians who are fighting each other to stop shooting and sit down at the negotiating table," he was quoted by Russia's state-run RIA Novosti as saying. "It is essential that all outside players use their influence with various Syrian groups, be it government or opposition forces, to send the same signals."

RIA Novosti reports that both parties to the conflict in Syria blamed the other for violating the truce. More than 130 people were reportedly killed last weekend. Lavrov said the Kremlin was disappointed that the truce wasn't observed.

Moscow and China, two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, said attempts to censure Damascus for the conflict lack balance.

Brahimi said there were no plans to send peacekeepers into Syria but expressed concern that that "the situation is bad and getting worse."

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