United Nations envoy Kofi Annan says both Iran and Iraq back his peace plan for Syria and could play a part in forming a transitional government.
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (right) with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad
From Geneva Wednesday, Mr. Annan briefed the Security Council by video link on his talks this week in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as his stops in Tehran and Baghdad.
Mr. Annan's discussions were aimed at finding support for his moribund peace plan, which he says has, so far, failed. The plan includes an immediate halt to the bloodshed in the most violent areas of Syria and talks between the opposition and government.
Mr. Annan said President Assad proposed a negotiator who would represent him. Mr. Annan did not reveal a name, saying he has to learn more about this person.
He said that Iran and Iraq told him they would use their influence to push the Syrian opposition into talks.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday that the United States is not excluding anyone from participating in talks about Syria's future, but doubts Iran could play a constructive role.
On Tuesday, Carney said no one with a straight face could argue Iran has had a positive impact on Syria.
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