Kremlin warms to peacekeepers in Syria

Nov. 5, 2012 at 10:14 AM
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MOSCOW, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- The Kremlin is ready to back a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Syria provided it's supported by the government in Damascus, a minister said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Moscow was ready to discuss ways to broker a cease-fire with the aim of setting up negotiations among warring factions in Syria.

"We are ready to consider the issue of sending observers and U.N. peacekeepers, agreed with the Syrian government," he was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "The idea is to reach local cease-fire (agreements) between the government and the opposition through international mediation."

Hundreds of people in Syria were killed in late October despite calls for a cease-fire to commemorate the Muslim holiday celebration of Eid al-Adha.

Bogdanov said there is "no military solution" to the crisis in Syria.

Russia and China, two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, have objected to draft resolutions on Syria, saying they lack balance. Russia counts the Syrian government as one of its largest weapons customers.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram that the Kremlin was committed to its outstanding contracts with the Syrian government.

"Currently, we are fulfilling our earlier commitments, mainly relating to the supply of air defense systems," he was quoted as saying Monday.

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