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China, Russia to coordinate on Annan's Syria peace plan

China and Russia are to join forces to help carry out UN envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday. Lavrov and other leaders are in Shanghai for a two-day summit.


AFP - Russia and China will together push forward special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria, Russia's foreign minister said Wednesday, calling for an international meeting over the conflict-torn state.

"We confirmed that we will coordinate our actions on Syria, and that the main thing right now is to carry out Annan's plan and the (UN) Security Council resolution," Sergei Lavrov said after talks with Chinese leaders in Beijing.

"We think it is necessary to call a meeting of countries that truly have an influence on various opposition groups," he added, citing the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the Arab League, the European Union, Turkey and Iran.

Chinese and Russian leaders -- both attending a regional security summit in Beijing on Wednesday -- have remained in lockstep over Syria, opposing foreign intervention and forced regime change in the conflict-torn nation.

The two nations vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions criticising President Bashar al-Assad's regime earlier this year, but they have also voiced support for UN-Arab League special envoy Annan's six-point peace plan.

But as Syrian government troops continue to fight armed rebels in a conflict that has now lasted 15 months, doubts have emerged over the effectiveness of Annan's plan, which came into effect mid-April.

Rights groups say more than 13,500 people have died in the Syrian uprising since March 2011, and Western powers are pushing for increased pressure on al-Assad to stop the regime's assault against the population.

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