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UN security council to vote on Syria resolution today

Members of the UN security council will meet today morning to vote on a resolution condemning the violent repression in Syria.

world Updated: Feb 04, 2012 07:48 IST

Members of the UN security council will meet on Saturday morning to vote on a resolution condemning the violent repression in Syria, a diplomat said.

The vote is expected on the same day that US secretary of state Hillary Clinton is due to hold face-to-face talks with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, amid a fresh American push for passage of the resolution.

"It is the same text that's going to a vote," the diplomat said on Friday, referring to the draft resolution sent to the council's 15 members the previous day.

The resolution faces an uncertain fate, as Moscow had maintained its opposition to a tougher draft resolution authored by Western powers and the Arab League.

Russia also said on Friday it could not support the new draft in its current form, which states the council fully supports an Arab League plan to facilitate a democratic transition, but leaves out explicit references to calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

The security council has yet to adopt a resolution on Syria despite 10 months of violence that has left more than 6,000 people dead, rights groups estimate. An earlier draft was blocked in October by China and Russia.

The expected vote follows a day of violence in Syria, where hundreds were killed and injured in a series of attacks, including at least 217 deaths from mortar fire in the central city of Homs, according to rights groups.

Clinton held what her spokesman described as "constructive" talks by telephone with Lavrov over the draft, and the pair were due to meet in Munich, likely ahead of the UN vote.

"You can be sure that Syria and the discussions at the UN will be one of the issues there, among many," a senior state department official said.

The new draft backs a January 22 Arab League request that Assad transfer power to a deputy and a government of national unity within two months but does not call on him to step down, according to a copy obtained by AFP.

Instead, it calls for a "Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system... including through commencing a serious political dialogue between the Syrian government and the whole spectrum of the Syrian opposition under the League of Arab States' auspices, in accordance with the timetable set out by the League of Arab States."

The draft also "condemns all violence from whatever source and... requires that all parties in Syria, including armed groups (opposition), immediately cease all violence or reprisal."

The latest attempt at consensus emerged after hours of talks stalled in the Security Council, with Moscow leading the opposition to a tougher draft resolution authored by Western powers and the Arab League.

Diplomats said the new draft took into account concerns by Moscow, a staunch Damascus ally.

"Some of our concerns and the concerns of those who think the same as us have been taken into consideration but all the same this is not enough for us to be able to support it in this form," deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov said.

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