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Russia urges Syria transition, Switzerland to petition ICC

Published on Jan 13, 2013 6:04 AM
Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov arrives at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva January 11, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DAMASCUS (AFP) - Russia called on Saturday for a political transition in Syria, while Switzerland said it would petition the International Criminal Court to probe war crimes in the country.

Regime warplanes carried out air strikes near the capital and a car bomb blew up in Damascus province, while gunmen shot dead an athletics champion, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

A day after UN-Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Moscow repeated its long-held position that only Syrians can decide their fate.

"In our opinion, the priority task is to immediately stop any violence and bloodshed as well as provide Syrians including internally displaced persons and refugees with humanitarian aid," the foreign ministry said. But it added: "At the same time it is necessary to secure the launch of a political transition process in Syria aimed at enshrining in law guaranteed and equal rights of all ethnic-confessional groups of this country." Moscow, a key Damascus ally, also reiterated its support for a transition plan that was agreed in Geneva in June but has since split world powers.

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