UNITED NATIONS Russia and other big powers have told Syria mediator Kofi Annan they support his idea of a Syrian national unity cabinet that could include government and opposition members but would exclude those whose participation would undermine it, envoys said on Wednesday.
The proposal is one of the main topics that Russia, the other four permanent Security Council members and other key players in the Middle East will discuss at a meeting in Geneva on Saturday about the 16-month conflict in Syria, diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
"It could comprise present government members, opposition and others, but would need to exclude those whose continued participation or presence would jeopardize the transition's credibility, or harm prospects for reconciliation and stability," a diplomat said, summarizing Annan's proposal.
The diplomat added that the idea of excluding certain people was clearly referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, though Annan's proposal does not explicitly say Assad could not serve in a national unity government.
(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Sandra Maler)