Russia has made it clear that there will be no vote in the coming days on a UN Security Council resolution on Syria. The Russians' biggest objection is the lack of a clause that rules out foreign intervention.
Russia indicated on Wednesday that a vote in the United Nations Security Council would not take place in the next few days on a resolution condemning the violence in Syria. Instead, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told the Interfax news agency that "attempts are being made to find a text that is acceptable to all sides and would help find a political solution for the situation in Syria."
Russia is not on board with the current draft resolution and could use its veto power in the Security Council to strike the initiative down, should it come to a vote.
Vladimir Chizov, Russia's envoy to the European Union, said the sticking point is that the draft "is missing the most important thing: a clear clause ruling out the possibility that the resolution could be used to justify military intervention in Syrian affairs from outside."
Western nations are pressing Russia and China to back a Security Council resolution against the crackdown on dissent which the UN says has killed more than 5,400 people in the past 10 months.
Call to action
The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) on Tuesday called for "swift action" to protect civilians "by all necessary means," in a statement on Facebook.
The SNC reaffirmed the "people's determination to fight for their freedom and dignity," and stressed the people would not give up, "whatever the sacrifices." It also condemned the failure of the Security Council so far to agree on a resolution against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday also urged the Security Council to reach agreement on a possible way to end the violence.
"I sincerely hope the Security Council will be united and speak in a coherent manner reflecting the wishes of the international community. This is crucially important," said Ban on a visit to neighboring Jordan.
Ahead of the Security Council meeting on Tuesday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called on the Security Council to act "urgently."
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron made his own plea to Moscow and Beijing. "It is time for all members of the UN Security Council to live up to their responsibilities instead of shielding those who have blood on their hands," said Cameron.
'No' to regime change demand
Russia has said it will veto any resolution that calls for regime change or military intervention by other countries. It has objected to a resolution introduced by Morocco calling for the regime to stop violence against protesters and for Assad to cede power to his deputy.
"I don't think Russian policy is about asking people to step down. Regime change is not our profession," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Australian television broadcaster ABC. China, which also holds a veto, has so far also refused to back the resolution.
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Tuesday told a Senate intelligence committee hearing that he believed the fall of Assad was inevitable.
"The opposition continues to be fragmented, but I do not see how he can sustain his rule of Syria," said Clapper.
mz/rc/cmk (AFP, dpa, Reuters)