UNITED NATIONS - Russia on Thursday blocked the adoption of a draft statement condemning a deadly Syrian mortar attack on a Turkish town and proposed a weaker text that would call for "restraint" on the border without referring to breaches of international law.
"The members of the Security Council called on the parties to exercise restraint and avoid military clashes which could lead to a further escalation of the situation in the border area between Syria and Turkey," said Russia's proposed statement, which was obtained by Reuters.
If adopted, the non-binding statement would also call on the two neighbors to "reduce tensions and forge a path toward a peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis." The Syrian mortar attack on Wednesday killed five Turkish civilians.
The Russian drafts keeps some of the language in the original text proposed by Azerbaijan, and urges the Syrian government to investigate the attack.
The United States also proposed amendments to "strengthen" the original text, according a Western diplomat.
The original draft, circulated to the 15-nation council on Wednesday, condemned "in the strongest terms" the Syrian army's shelling of a town in Turkey and demanded an end to violations of Turkish territory.
"This represents a demonstration of the spilling over of the crisis in Syria into neighboring states to an alarming degree," say both the Russian and the initial draft.
However, the Russians proposed removing the following sentence, which diplomats said was crucial language: "Such violations of international law constitute a serious threat to international peace and security."
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