UN envoy Kofi Annan will hold talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here Friday as the international community gropes for a way to end the bloodshed in Syria, a US official said.
"There's actually quite a lot going on with Syria this week in terms of international efforts," a State Department spokesman, Mark Toner said Monday, as he dismissed a weekend speech by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as "out of touch with reality."
Clinton will attend a meeting in Istanbul on Thursday to discuss the unrelenting violence in Syria which has dragged on since March 2011, and will then meet with Annan in Washington on Friday.
Annan, the UN-Arab League envoy, has demanded a "serious review" of the deadlocked efforts to end the Syria bloodshed.
Seeking to shore up the plan, Clinton spoke Monday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov "about bringing more pressure to bear on Assad, on the regime to comply with all six aspects or components of the Annan plan, including a democratic or political transition," Toner told journalists.
She told her Russian counterpart that Moscow, a key ally of Syria, had a "very significant role to play in trying to persuade Assad, using their influence... that the Annan plan offers the best way forward."
Toner also said that a sanctions group, led by Washington, was to meet this week to look at ways to "tighten, strengthen, better coordinate sanctions" on the Syrian regime.
"But that's not where we're stopping. We're obviously going to continue our work both within the UN Security Council and with the Friends of the Syrian People to continue the political and economic pressure," he said.
"So, you know, this is a multi-front battle, if you will, to keep pressure up on Assad."
Source: AFP American Edition