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Russia to support new UN Syria resolution: Lavrov

Turnaround reveals growing frustration with Assad's regime.

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A Syrian girl holds a Russian flag during a state-sponsored Damascus rally in support of President Bashar al-Assad on the first anniversary of the anti-government uprising on March 15, 2012. (Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images)

Moscow today said it will back a new United Nations (UN) resolution aimed at ending the growing crisis in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced in Moscow today, according to the Associated Press (AP). 

Lavrov's comments come amid reports of Syrian government forces today shelling three towns, part of its brutal crackdown on a year-long uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime in violence that has left some 8,000 people dead.

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The move by Moscow is something of a game-changer for Russia, a member of the UN's Security Council that earlier used its veto power to block sanctions-strapped resolutions targeting its Syrian ally, to whom it sells weapons.

This most recent UN resolution, which has not been made public, is based off a plan put forth by UN envoy Kofi Annan after discussing the situation with Assad in Damascus last month, said AP

Bloomberg said the resolution would be "a step down from" legally binding but "requires unanimity and would represent the strongest world response to the crisis since Russia and China twice vetoed tougher measures."

Lavrov today warned that while Moscow will not support "an ultimatum" for the Syrian regime, there is "support" for Annan's proposals, "not only in the form of a statement but also a resolution."

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The UN Security Council is set to meet and possibly vote on a separate Syria statement later today, according to AP. The statement reportedly demands that "further measures" be taken if Assad does not act in accordance with Annan's agreement. 

Lavrov's comments follow stronger language from Russia on the Syria issue in recent days, with a Foreign Ministry statement on Monday calling on Assad to allow humanitarian aid into the country, said AP

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/120320/russia-support-new-un-syria-resolution-lavrov