Bloomberg News

Russia Says Syria’s Assad Hasn’t Responded to Peace Efforts

January 25, 2012

(Updates with envoy’s comments in fourth paragraph.)

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hasn’t responded to efforts to promote a peaceful solution to 10-month-old unrest, said a Kremlin envoy, Mikhail Margelov.

Russia is losing confidence in the possibility of a negotiated outcome in Syria, “because we don’t see any willingness, either from the authorities or the protesters, to reach an agreement,” Margelov said today in a phone interview.

Russia in October blocked a bid by the European Union and U.S. for the United Nations Security Council to condemn the crackdown in Syria, arguing that Assad was seeking to implement political changes.

Margelov, a special envoy who traveled to Libya last year in a bid to negotiate Muammar Qaddafi’s departure and has offered to mediate between the Syrian government and opposition, said Russia hasn’t received a “clear, positive response” from Assad.

Syria yesterday rejected a proposal from the Arab League to form a national unity government within two months to implement a peaceful transfer of power as a violation to its sovereignty.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in the Syrian crackdown on opposition unrest since March 2011, according to the UN. The U.S. has criticized Russia for blocking sanctions against Syria and supplying weaponry to its Soviet-era ally. Syria received a shipment of Russian ammunition this month and has also signed a $550 million deal for 26 Yak-130 jet trainer aircraft, according to the Kommersant newspaper.

--Editor: Zoe Schneeweiss

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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