40 killed in Syria; Russia for peace conference
BEIRUT RUSSIA expressed concerns on Saturday about ongoing violence in Syria, but reiterated it will not approve a military intervention. Meanwhile, violence continued to grip most cities in the country, claiming the lives of more than 40, activists said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the fighting must stop in Syria and that he wants an international peace conference with Iran involved. The meeting aims at ending differences and finding a way to implement a peace plan by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, he said.
“We see no alternative to the (Annan) plan,” says Lavrov in Moscow, adding that his country would only back a plan removing President Bashar al Assad from office if that was the will of the Syrian people.
“We will not sanction the use of force at the United Nations Security Council,” Lavrov said during a briefing on Russia’s proposal for an international conference on Syria.
Russia, Syria’s main ally in the region, has already, alongside China, blocked two resolutions condemning al- Assad for his crackdown on pro-democracy protests that have been ongoing since March 2011.