United Nations Security Council 311 (R).
(photo credit: Mike Segar / Reuters)
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Moscow may agree not
to veto the latest version of a European-Arab draft resolution
endorsing an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar Assad to give up power when the UN Security Council votes
on it, envoys said on Friday.
"I think Moscow will be OK with it," a council diplomat told
Reuters on condition of anonymity. "We're not 100 percent sure
but I think they've gotten the assurances they wanted."
circulated an amended draft resolution to the
15-nation council on Thursday after Russian Ambassador Vitaly
Churkin told a closed-door session of the 15-nation body Moscow
would veto the draft if it were put to a vote on Friday with a
phrase saying the council "fully supports" an Arab League
calling for Syria
's president to step aside, diplomats said.
That phrase remains in the text. But several diplomats said
Churkin's threat of a veto had more to do with the timing than
the substance of the resolution and predicted that the Russians
likely would abstain or vote for the resolution.
"He made the threat but I don't think he'll necessarily have
to follow through with it," a diplomat said on condition of
anonymity. "We included some new language that Russia
's UN envoy, Mohammed Loulichki
, told reporters
after Thursday's inconclusive council meeting he would seek a
vote on the amended draft resolution as soon as possible. French
Ambassador Gerard Araud
said the council may vote on the
resolution as early as on Friday or Saturday.
The council will meet to discuss the latest draft later on
A senior US official declined to predict what the final
vote would be but said the majority of the council would vote in
favor of it. "We are cautiously optimistic that we will have a
very strong show of support for this resolution," the official
received the new draft resolution overnight and the
government was expected to make a decision on whether or not to
veto it in the course of the day, diplomats said.
votes for the resolution, it likely will be
adopted unanimously, as China
, South Africa
are expected to follow Moscow
's lead, UN envoys said. An
abstention from Moscow
would allow the resolution to pass,
although it would register a certain level of disapproval.