World powers have called for the setting up of a transitional government in Syria to help bring the worsening violence, which has killed an estimated 14,000 people, to an end.
The Syria action group meeting in Geneva stopped short of excluding current president Bashar al-Assad from any future role.
International peace envoy Kofi Annan said that the interim government should include members of Assad’s administration.
Leaders appeared to give in to demands by Russia that the transition must come from Damascus.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a news conference that the plan would mean: “the formation of a transitional governing body exercising full executive powers, which would be broadly inclusive and chosen by mutual consent; and an inclusive and transparent Syrian-led process to review the constitution and prepare for free and multi-party elections.”
While Clinton maintained that Assad would have to step down, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the agreement would not require Assad’s removal.
“We’ve ensured that this document contains no prerequisites for beginning the transition process and national dialogue. There is no requirement to exclude either side from this process,” said Lavrov.
Violence continued on Saturday as Syrian government forces continued their shelling of Douma on the outskirts of Damascus.
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