Mar. 10 - Russian foreign minister Sergie Lavrov meets with Arab leaders amid growing criticism that Moscow is shielding the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Andrew Raven reports.
Protesters gather outside the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo - and call on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to resign. The demands come amid a bloody conflict between pro- and anti-government forces in Syria - a tug-of-war that has left at least 7,500 people dead. Away from the crowds, Arab leaders discuss ways to end the violence, which erupted one year ago. Arab League Secretary General Nabil el-Araby called on Damascus to listen to the "fair demands" of Syria's opposition movement. Russian foreign minister Sergie Lavrov attended the meeting. He fended off criticisms that Moscow, Syria's biggest arms dealer, has stymied efforts to oust Assad and end the violence. (SOUNDBITE)(English) RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SERGEI LAVROV "We are not protecting any regimes. We protect international law. And I believe when we talk on Syria that the immediate task now is to end violence, irrespective of the source." But some Arab leaders pressed for stronger action. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, whose country has called for Syrian rebels to be armed, said the Assad government must be held to account. Andrew Raven, Reuters