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Syria: Van Rompuy, EU and Russia back Annan plan

The Syrian crisis was among the topics of the 29th EU-Russia summit held in Strelna on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, with Russian President Putin, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, and both foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov and Catherine Ashton.

Annan plan has the best chance of ending the violence

The EU and Russia back the Annan plan as the best chance for ending the violence in Syria, Van Rompuy asserted during a joint press conference, adding that Moscow and Brussels had to join forces. He therefore launched an appeal to the Syrian authorities for their cessation of the violence and full support for the Annan plan.

No grounds for military intervention

Syria was also a topic of discussion on Friday in the margins of the conference on Somalia in Istanbul, which Minister Terzi attended. “I do not believe any military action outside the UN Security Council is an option on the table”, revealed Terzi, underscoring that “the grounds do not exist” for any intervention “either in the UN or among Western countries or the governments of the region”.

The way to go for now then is a “political solution”. According to Terzi it is important that Moscow participate, with the understanding that the position of the Bashar El Assad regime has been “permanently compromised” and that Damascus has “arrived well beyond the point of no return”.

Italy considers it necessary to render the sanctions against the regime’s leaders more incisive through a UN resolution that “effectively strengthens international observers’ ability to operate” and “to protect themselves”. After the “terrifying atrocities being perpetrated” in Syria, it may be time to call for the intervention of the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, which “would be a highly significant form of pressure”, Terzi added.