Annan Says Iran Should Be Consulted In International Plan For Syria
Kofi Annan is trying to rally the international community to bring the violence in Syria to an end. Annan even suggested that Iran should be consulted, an idea the United States doubts.
NPR's Michele Kelemen filed this report for our Newscast unit:
"The joint UN and Arab league envoy, Kofi Annan, is trying to convene a meeting next weekend in Geneva. He told reporters there it is time for countries with influence to increase the pressure on the parties in Syria to stop the killing and start talking.
"'The longer we wait, the darker Syria's future becomes,' Annan said. 'This process cannot be open-ended. It is urgent that our consultations yield real results soon.'
"Annan says Iran should be part of the solution. The Obama administration accuses Iran of 'stage managing' Bashar Assad's crackdown and doesn't think Iran should part of any contact group meeting."
Today, Russia's foreign minister also appeared to increase the pressure on Syria. Sergei Lavrov said that he had urged Assad's government to "do a lot more" to implement the Annan plan.
"After talks with Syria's foreign minister, Lavrov said Syria's government was prepared to withdraw forces from cities and towns simultaneously with rebels and suggested Moscow would seek support for such an agreement among other nations.
"His remarks appeared aimed to indicate that Moscow is putting pressure on President Bashar al-Assad's government while at the same time making clear his opponents share the blame for persistent violence."
But, as The New York Times reports, the violence in Syria did not subside. Today, opposition activists and Syrian state media said 25 men "were found shot to death on Friday near the northern city of Aleppo."