Following talks with former UN chief and current Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has endorsed Annan’s policy, and has promised all support possible to kickstart negotiations in Syria.
Medvedev declared Annan’s mission critical, calling it a “last chance for Syria to avoid a protracted bloody civil war.” Arguably Syria is already in a state of civil war, but it could well get worse as time goes on.
Annan’s visit to Russia went smoothly, and he is expected to arrive in China early Monday to secure a similar agreement from the Chinese government. The support will be a big step toward convincing the Assad regime to agree to the talks.
But getting Assad to endorse the talks and getting the rebels on board are two very different things. Though Western nations at the UN endorsed Annan, many of them are still pushing for regime change to the exclusion of any negotiated settlement, and the bigger rebel factions have rejected the idea of talks on general principle, assuming that they can count on Western support for the war.