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Report: U.S. to Work with Russia on Yemen Style Plan in Syria

The administration of President Barack Obama is considering working with Russia on a plan calling for the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad under a proposal modeled on the transition in Yemen, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The newspaper said the plan calls for a negotiated political settlement that would satisfy Syrian opposition groups but that could leave remnants of Assad's government in place.

Its goal is the kind of transition under way in Yemen, where after months of violent unrest, President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down and hand control to his vice president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in a deal arranged by Yemen's Arab neighbors, the report said.

The success of the plan for Syria hinges on Russia, a key Damascus ally that has strongly opposes removing Assad, the paper said.

Moscow is facing intense international pressure to use its influence to bring about the removal of Assad, The Times noted.

The Yemen example has been widely discussed in Moscow, so much so that the option has become known by its Russian term, the "Yemenskii Variant," even in the United States, the paper said.

Obama will press the proposal with President Vladimir Putin next month at their first meeting since Putin returned to the Kremlin on May 7, according to the report.

U.S. national security adviser Thomas Donilon raised the plan with Putin in Moscow three weeks ago, the paper noted.

When Obama brought it up with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russia at the Group of Eight meeting at Camp David last weekend, Medvedev appeared receptive, signaling that Russia would prefer that option to other transitions in the Arab upheaval, The Times pointed out.

Source: Agence France Presse


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