02/29/2012 07:02 am ET Updated Apr 30, 2012

Kofi Annan To Talk Syria In New York At United Nations

(Adds Annan invited to Moscow)

GENEVA, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Kofi Annan, the United Nations-Arab League envoy for Syria, said he would hold talks in New York from Wednesday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and member states on Syria.

Russia, which along with China blocked a Security Council resolution that would have supported an Arab League call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to cede power, said separately that Annan has been invited to Moscow for consultations.

Annan, in a statement issued in Geneva where he is based, said he would hold a series of consultations in New York through Friday and then depart for Cairo to meet Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby.

He planned to visit other countries in the region after that, according to the statement which did not name the countries or give any other details.

Annan has been invited to Moscow but no date has been set for the visit, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Twitter.

Annan, who served as U.N. Secretary-General from 1997 to 2006, held separate talks in Geneva on Monday with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and France's Alain Juppe.

On Friday, Annan called for the full cooperation of all parties to help bring an end to violence and human rights abuses in Syria, where Assad is fighting to repress an almost year-long uprising against his 11-year rule.

The United Nations said on Tuesday that Assad's forces had killed more than 7,500 people. France urged Russia and China not to veto a new Security Council resolution that is in the works and, according to diplomats, focuses on humanitarian problems.

Moscow has voiced support for humanitarian relief efforts and called for an end to violence, but has emphasised Assad's armed opponents must be pressured to stop fighting and said Assad's exit must not be a precondition for dialogue in Syria. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Additional reporting by Steve Gutterman in Moscow; Editing by Janet Lawrence)



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