United Nations: International envoy Kofi Annan and the major powers are launching a final drive to find a diplomatic solution to the Syria crisis while preparing sanctions and emergency plans for UN observers in the conflict-stricken state.
      
Annan wants to get Russia, President Bashar al-Assad's last major ally, and the United States, which has called for the Syrian leader to step down, and other key nations behind an effort to bring Assad into talks, diplomats and officials said.
      
The UN-Arab League envoy hopes to unveil his new plan at a meeting in Geneva on June 30, according to UN diplomats.
      
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who spoke with Annan yesterday, said the envoy is working on a "political transition roadmap" for Syria, where activist say 15 months of conflict have left more than 15,000 people dead.
      
"He's going to be making another proposal to the Russians, the Turks and other interested groups to try to get them to agree on this roadmap," Clinton told reporters.
      
Annan wants to "increase the pressure" on Assad's government and the opposition, she added.
   
The envoy's current six-point peace plan, which includes the return of troops and weaponry to barracks as a prelude to talks, was agreed by Assad but has never been carried out.
      
Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told that the special envoy has been holding "intensive consultations" in recent days with Clinton and other "key" ministers.
      
He wants them "to agree on the principles of convening such a meeting that would agree on the way forward for Syria and agree how we can get the six-point plan to be implemented," Fawzi said in a telephone interview.
      
The talks will continue in the coming days.
      
Annan wants "some kind of action plan that will give teeth to the six point plan, and that will force the parties to stop killing each other and start moving toward a political settlement of this crisis," Fawzi said.
      
The envoy and the head of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) are due to hold a press conference in Geneva on Saturday to reveal more details of the increasingly desperate peace bid.
           
(Agencies)

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