Moscow: Russia said on Wednesday it's ready to support a United Nations resolution endorsing Kofi Annan's plan for settling the Syrian crisis, signaling it is prepared to raise the pressure on its old ally.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that the resolution shouldn't turn into an ultimatum to the Syrian government, setting the stage for tough bargaining over the wording of the document at the UN Security Council. But Lavrov's statement appeared to indicate growing impatience with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russia and China have twice shielded Assad's regime from the UN sanctions over its yearlong crackdown on protesters, in which more than 8,000 have died. But the Kremlin has also offered strong support to Annan, the former United Nations secretary-general who is joint UN and Arab League special envoy.

Annan has met twice with Assad earlier this month and made proposals to end the bloodshed, which haven't yet been made public.
Lavrov said that Annan's proposals should now be unveiled, adding that Moscow stands ready to back a U.N. Security Council resolution supporting it.

"The Security Council should support them not as an ultimatum, but as a basis for the continuing efforts by Kofi Annan aimed at reaching accord between all the Syrians, the government and all opposition groups on all key issues, such as humanitarian corridors, halting hostilities by all parties, the beginning of a political dialogue and offering access to the media," Lavrov said at a news conference following the talks in Moscow with his Lebanese counterpart.

(Agencies)