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Syria - Mar 13, 2012 - 20:55

Last modified: 13 Mar 2012 17:55

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Russia said Tuesday it will press Syria to accept international monitors who could observe the implementation of a "simultaneous" ceasefire between government troops and rebels.

But it also dismissed Western pressure to halt its weapons supplies to the conflict-torn country and stressed that the armed resistance bore equal blame for the mounting death toll.

Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said Russia was discussing the monitors idea with Arab countries and at the United Nations:

The objective is for both sides to understand that there is an independent observer watching how they meet demands - and we are definitely going to be making such demands - for an immediate ceasefire.

"This must be simultaneous. We must not have a situation in which the government is required to leave the cities and villages while the armed groups are not made to do the same.

"This is unrealistic, not because we want the bloodshed to continue, but because the unilateral withdrawal of government forces is completely unrealistic.

"The Syrian authorities will not go for that, whether we like it or not."

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