Russia Halting Arms Exports to Syria

Meanwhile, Annan and Assad 'agree on approach' to conflict
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2012 7:58 AM CDT
In this Sunday, July 8, 2012 photo released by Syria's official news agency SANA, Syrian troops participate in a live fire exercise in an undisclosed location in Syria.   (AP Photo/SANA)
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(Newser) – Russia will stop selling weapons to Syrian authorities until the conflict in the country simmers down, a senior official says. So far, he tells Russian news agencies, Moscow has simply been sending spare parts to the Syrian army and helping with repairs, not sending fighter planes or helicopters. From here on out it will not send any weapons or engage in any new arms deals, the AP reports. Meanwhile, Kofi Annan met with embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and says the two have agreed on an approach to stop the violence, calling their talks "very candid and constructive." Annan will discuss the approach with the rebels.

Annan says the president also "accepts" the need to move forward with a "political dialogue," and says Assad "reassured" him that his government is committed to the six-point plan (though, Annan admitted, the plan has not been implemented very successfully thus far). And while reports indicate Annan is focused on a political transition, Assad—as recently as yesterday in an interview with German TV—has ruled out leaving power, insisting he has public support behind him. The situation in Syria remains tense today, with opposition activists claiming numerous cities are being shelled by security forces, the BBC reports. More than 100 people, mostly civilians, were killed yesterday, they say. And, the AP adds, Syria launched large-scale military exercises yesterday to simulate defending the country against outside "aggression."

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