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Exclusive: Annan calls for Syria national unity government: envoys
June 27, 2012 / 11:45 PM / in 5 years

Exclusive: Annan calls for Syria national unity government: envoys

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - 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.

Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League for Syria Kofi Annan (R) gestures next to Major-General Robert Mood, head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria during a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva June 22, 2012. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

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

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