The thrust of Annan's proposal is a contact group that would bring the UN Security Council members – Russia, China, the US, Britain, and France – together with critical regional players, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, who back the rebels, and Iran, which supports President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters reports.
The goal is to create a plan for a "political transition" that would remove Mr. Assad from power and hold elections for his successor. The point of the contact group, according to diplomats speaking with Reuters, is to bring Russia on board with the idea of replacing Assad.
"We're trying to get the Russians to understand that if they don't give up on Assad, they stand to lose all their interests in Syria if this thing blows up into a major regional war involving Lebanon, Iran, Saudis," a Western diplomat told Reuters. "So far the Russians have not agreed."