Iran backs plan for Syria-led transition: Annan

GENEVA Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:46pm EDT

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GENEVA (Reuters) - International mediator Kofi Annan said on Wednesday Iran and Iraq supported a plan for a political transition in Damascus led by Syria and that they would use their influence to try to push all parties in that direction.

He was speaking to reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council on his trip to Syria as well as its ally Iran and Iraq, which has ties to Tehran.

Annan has repeatedly said that regional heavyweight Iran should be involved in efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Syria crisis despite the West's firm rejection of any role.

"In both Iran and Iraq the governments committed to supporting the six-point plan. They supported the idea of political transition, which will be Syrian-led, and allow the Syrians to decide on what their future political dispensation would be," Annan told reporters in Geneva.

"Obviously they will use their influence on the government and the parties in moving in that direction," he said.

The six-point plan brokered by Annan is supposed to resolve Syria's conflict with an immediate halt to the violence, withdrawal of heavy weapons and military forces from built-up areas, access for humanitarian aid and journalists and a political transition. But the April 12 ceasefire underpinning the plan, which is supported by all parties, never took hold.

Iran was not invited to a meeting on June 30 in Geneva where the United States, Russia and other states with an interest in the outcome of the conflict reached a loose agreement for a "political transition" based on "mutual consent", although they later disagreed about what that phrase meant.

On Wednesday Annan said that he expected the Security Council to decide on the next steps for Syria in the coming days and that Britain's ambassador had indicated Western powers would put forward a resolution.

Russia has already drafted a resolution to extend a U.N. mission in Syria for three months so it can shift focus from monitoring a non-existent truce to securing a political solution to the conflict.

The former U.N. secretary-general gave a tepid response when asked about President Bashar al-Assad's choice of a person to represent Syria in talks with the opposition.

"He did offer a name and I indicated that I wanted to know a bit more about the individual, so we are at that stage," Annan said without giving details.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles; Editing by Alison Williams)

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