World powers struck an agreement that a transitional government should be set up in Syria to end the conflict there but they remained at odds over what part President Bashar al-Assad might play in the process.
Peace envoy Kofi Annan said after the talks in Geneva on Saturday the government should include members of Assad's administration and the Syrian opposition and that it should arrange free elections.
The talks had been billed as a last-ditch effort to halt the worsening violence in Syria but hit obstacles as Russia, Assad's most powerful ally, opposed Western and Arab insistence that he must quit the scene.
The final communique said the transitional government should be formed "on the basis of mutual consent".
After the meeting, the US and Russia contradicted each other over what that meant for Assad, who has ruled Syria for 11 years. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said he was "delighted" with the result. The deal did not attempt to impose a process on Syria, he said.
But U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it sent a clear message to Assad that he must quit.