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U.N. Security Council backs Kofi Annan's peace efforts in Syria

•, By Paul Richter and Patric

Speaking with an unusually unanimous voice on a divisive issue, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday approved a statement supporting former Secretary-General Kofi Annan's peacemaking efforts in Syria and the delivery of aid for victims of the violence.

The nonbinding vote included the support of Russia, which has stood in the way of previous council proposals on Syria. Moscow has opposed international intervention in the conflict and has a long-standing alliance with the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

China, which has followed Russia's lead on the issue, also joined in the vote.

In the statement, the Security Council called on both the government and the opposition to work "in good faith" with Annan, who met with Assad in Damascus this month in his role as a special envoy for the U.N. and the Arab League. Many diplomats view Annan's mediation as a final chance to avert an all-out civil war in Syria.

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