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Russia Says Outside Forces Threaten Syrian Cease-Fire

New York Times [1]
April 17, 2012

A day after United Nations monitors arrived in Syria, Russia said on Tuesday that a fragile cease-fire was under threat from “external forces” supporting antigovernment fighters and that activist reports of attacks by Syrian forces were a response, Russian news agencies reported.

Speaking ahead of a meeting with an opposition delegation in Moscow, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, said the cease-fire, brokered by a special envoy, Kofi Annan, had provided a lull in more than 13 months of violence, but that it was being undermined by antigovernment fighters with assistance from unspecified outside nations. “There are those who want Kofi Annan’s plan to fail,” Mr. Lavrov said without elaborating.

Russia has resisted international efforts to oust President Bashar al-Assad, a longtime ally, but last month backed a United Nations Security Council statement in support of Mr. Annan’s mission.

“There are countries, there are external forces, that are not interested in the success of the current Security Council efforts, that are trying to replace the Security Council with informal formats such as the ‘Friends of Syria’ group,” he was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying, in reference to a grouping of dozens of Arab and Western countries, including the United States.

Full article here [1]