September 8, 2012 - 12:27 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Russia will push the UN Security Council later this month to endorse a Syria peace plan brokered in Geneva, Russia's foreign minister said on Saturday, September 8, according to RIA Novosti.
"We stressed at a meeting with U.S. State Secretary [Hillary Clinton] that Russia will call for the Security Council's approval of the Geneva communiqué," Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Russia's Pacific port of Vladivostok.
The council is due to meet later this month to address the crisis in Syria.
World powers agreed in Geneva on June 30 that a transitional government should be set up in Syria in order to end the escalating conflict there.
Activists say some than 20,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March last year.
Russia said the Geneva plan did not imply that Assad should step down, but U.S. State Secretary Clinton and British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Assad would not be included in the new body.
Russia - along with China - has twice vetoed UN resolutions against Syria over what its says is a pro-rebel bias and has been accused by the West of defending the Syrian strongman, a charge it denies.
Speaking at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Vladivostok, Lavrov also expressed concerns that U.S. sanctions on Syria and Iran were harming Russian business interests.
"The unilateral American sanctions against Syria and Iran are increasingly becoming extraterritorial in nature and are directly affecting the interests of Russian business, particularly the banks."
Washington has imposed travel bans and asset freezes against Assad and other senior figures. It has also barred U.S. companies from doing business with Syria, and introduced sanctions on Syria's state-run oil company, Sytrol.
But Lavrov said Russia did not support "any sanctions" in Syria "because sanctions will not bring about anything." He also gave his backing to a proposed conference of Syria's opposition groups later this month.
The United States has also imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear program which it fears is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Tehran insists its program is for civilian use.