Russia calls on West to consider Assad’s peace initiative

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 Russia has called on the international community to consider proposals made by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for ending the crisis in the Arab country.
Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that senior Russian and US diplomats will discuss the Syria unrest during talks later this week with UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.

In a key speech on January 6, Assad called for an end to terrorist operations inside Syria and urged “concerned states and parties” to stop funding, arming and harboring militants.

Assad added that his government is always ready to hold talks with the opposition and political parties and that he would call for a “comprehensive national dialog” after foreign parties end their support for the militants and the terrorist activities cease in the country.

Moscow’s call for taking into account Assad’s three-step plan comes in the face of opposition from the United States and Britain, who dismissed the initiative and insisted that Assad should stand down.

The talks on Syria involving Brahimi, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns are to take place in Geneva on January 11.

Syria has been the scene of unrest since early 2011 and has witnessed the deaths of many people, including large numbers of army and security personnel in the violence.

Russia, along with China, has been under fire from the US and its allies for blocking several UN Security Council resolutions aimed at mounting pressure on Assad’s government.

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