Russia digs in heels against anti-Assad resolution

January 17, 2012 21:07

MOSCOW - Russia signaled on Tuesday it would not make major concessions over its draft Security Council resolution to end bloodshed in Syria, sticking by its key ally in the Middle East.

Moscow and Western members of the UN body have been deeply divided over the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov did little to suggest there was sufficient common ground to agree a resolution with France, Britain and the United States.

Syria is Moscow's chief ally in the region, one of its biggest arms customers and home to naval base it uses. A Russian-operated ship docked in Syria last week that carried ammunition, Russian and Cypriot sources said.

Western capitals are pushing for strong condemnation of Syria and Western diplomats have said they cannot accept Russian wording they say assigns equal blame to the government and opposition for violence the United Nations says has killed more than 5,000 people, mostly civilians.

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