MOSCOW - Russia said on Tuesday it was ready to endorse a UN Security Council statement backing UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's Syrian peace mission as long it does not present an ultimatum to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also repeated Russia's insistence that Syrian government forces and rebels must cease fire simultaneously to end a year of bloodshed, a position that differs starkly to that of the US.
Lavrov said Russia, which has blocked Security Council action on Syria for months, was prepared to approve a statement or resolution supporting the efforts of UN-Arab League envoy Annan. But he added there were "at least two" conditions.
"The Security Council must approve these not as an ultimatum but ... as a basis for the continuation of efforts to reach accord between the Syrian government and all opposition groups," Lavrov said after talks with Lebanon's foreign minister.