Russia proposes UN envoy for Syria

Russia has urged the United Nations to send a special envoy to Syria to help co-ordinate security issues and the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Russia has urged the United Nations to send a special envoy to Syria to help co-ordinate security issues and the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter today that it is proposing that the UN Security Council ask the UN Secretary General to send the envoy.

Yesterday, Russia’s UN Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said the world body should help solve humanitarian issues in Syria, after Damascus allowed the Red Cross to take humanitarian aid to some regions.

Russia and China have vetoed two Security Council resolutions backing Arab League plans aimed at ending the conflict and condemning President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on protests that killed 5,400 in 2011 alone, according to the UN. Hundreds more have been killed since, activist groups say.

Syria is Russia’s last remaining ally in the Middle East. Moscow has maintained close ties with Damascus since the Cold War, when Syria was led by the current leader’s father, Hafez Assad.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said today that Moscow will not attend the planned “friends of Syria” meeting at the end of this week, because its organisers had failed to invite representatives of the Syrian government.

Mr Lukashevich said the meeting in Tunisia would not help a dialogue, saying that the global community should act as friends of the entire Syrian people, and not just one part.

“It looks like an attempt to forge some kind of international coalition like it was with the setting-up of a ’contact group’ for Libya,” he said.

Russia has said it will block any UN resolution that could pave the way for a replay of what happened in Libya. In that case, Russia abstained from a vote, which cleared the way for months of Nato air force attacks that helped Libyans end Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

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