France: UN Security Council to meet on Syria

New draft resolution expected supporting Arab League's call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to transfer powers, call elections.

Assad flags, Damascus_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Assad flags, Damascus_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
UNITED NATIONS  - France's UN mission said the Security Council would meet behind closed doors on Friday to discuss the next steps regarding Syria, with council envoys saying the 15-nation body would likely get a new Western-Arab draft resolution.
"The UN Security Council will meet in closed consultations this Friday (at) 3:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) in New York to discuss steps to take on the situation in Syria," the mission said on its Twitter page (@FranceONU) on Thursday.
Council diplomats told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Morocco was expected to distribute at the meeting a new draft resolution that supports the Arab League's call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to transfer his powers to his deputy to set up a unity government and prepare for elections.
"They (Morocco) are planning to circulate a draft resolution that represents the view of the vast majority of countries on the Security Council," a diplomat said.
The Security Council could vote as early as next week on the new draft resolution, which diplomats from Britain and France are crafting in consultation with Qatar, Morocco, the United States, Germany and Portugal, envoys said. The new draft is to replace a Russian text that Western diplomats say is too weak.
The Moroccan delegation met on Thursday with Russian and Chinese diplomats to present them with the latest version of the Western-Arab draft resolution, council diplomats told Reuters. It was not immediately clear what their initial response was.
The draft resolution, obtained by Reuters, calls for a "political transition" in Syria. It does not call for UN sanctions against Damascus, something Moscow has said it could not support.
Russia, together with China, vetoed a European-drafted resolution in October that condemned Syria and threatened it with sanctions over its 10-month crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. It is unclear whether Russia is ready to wield its veto again to block council action on Syria.
Several Western envoys told Reuters that Russia might find it difficult to veto a resolution that is simply intended to provide support for the Arab League.
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