Western powers draft new UN council statement on Syria

UNITED NATIONS - France will submit to the Security Council on Monday a Western-drafted statement supporting UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace efforts in Syria and sending a strong message to Damascus to end violence against protesters, diplomats said.
The decision to prepare a "presidential statement" for the 15-nation council comes after Russia and China twice vetoed binding resolutions that condemned Syria's yearlong assault on demonstrators opposed to President Bashar Assad that the United Nations says has killed over 8,000 civilians.
"The main focus is to build common ground, support Annan's efforts and send a clear message to Damascus," a UN diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. France plans to circulate the draft to council members later on Monday at the end of a closed-door meeting on unrelated matters, envoys said.
Annan on Friday urged the Security Council to overcome its deadlock and unify in support of his efforts to end the violence, which has brought Syria to the brink of civil war, council diplomats said.
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