A day of diplomatic discussion on Syria at the UN Security Council ended without agreement as Russia and China remained opposed to move for a regime change in Damascus.
Morocco proposed an Arab League backed resolution that calls for President Bashar al-Assad to stand down as the first step in a move towards democracy.
Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin outlined the view from the Kremlin:
“We are convinced that, at a time of extreme political crisis, the role of the international community should not be one of exacerbating conflict, nor meddling by the use of economic sanctions or military force. No, it should be fostering dialogue so as to seek an optimally effective and smooth resolution.”
However, Russia could sign up if the resolution clearly rules out military intervention in the country when the council votes on Friday.
France, backed by the US, Britain and others, wants an end to the killing. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, wants discussion and agreement, but quickly. He said:
“I have noted the statement by the Russian representative who’s willing to consider the text of the resolution presented by Morocco, a resolution that we support. We are open to discussion on the condition that this discussion does not drag on and an agreement could be found quickly to stop the repression.”
As the diplomats talked, Assad’s troops regained control of the suburbs of the capital Damascus, prompting the Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad to say “The government killing machine continues effectively unabated.”