Russia says Annan needs to be 'urgently' replaced
Russia says major powers should 'urgently' replace ex-Syria mediator Kofi Annan.
MOSCOW - Russia said Friday that major powers should "urgently" replace former Syria mediator Kofi Annan, who quit his post after blaming a lack of international support for his peace efforts.
"A worthy candidate to succeed Kofi Annan should be urgently found," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. "In the developing situation, keeping a UN presence in the country acquires special significance."
Annan, who was the United Nations' and the Arab League's Syria envoy since February, resigned his post on Thursday blaming world powers for not giving enough backing to his peace drive.
Russia, which has vowed to block all attempts to legitimise the use of force against its Soviet-era ally through the United Nations, said a continued UN presence in the conflict-torn country was key to finding a peaceful solution.
"At this stage, what is most important is not to allow the slackening of international efforts to solve the crisis in Syria," the foreign ministry said.
It called the UN mission in Syria "an important factor in securing international support for the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people to themselves determine ways for their country's independent democratic development."
Moscow appeared to pin the blame for Annan's resignation on the Syrian rebels and West and Arab states that support them.
"Unfortunately, the Syrian opposition has consistently rejected all proposals to establish political dialogue.
"Our Western partners, (and) some regional states which could have influenced the opposition, have done nothing," the statement said.