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No progress at UN meeting on Syria

A meeting of the UN Security Council's permanent members today ended quickly with no sign of progress on an agreement over the Syria crisis.

The meeting started breaking up after less than an hour, with the ambassadors of China, France, Britain, Russia and the United States steadily walking out.

It was the second time in two days that the five Security Council powers had left a meeting on Syria with no progress.

On Wednesday, the five countries met to discuss a resolution proposed by Britain to authorise the use of military force against Syria in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds near the capital, Damascus.

Russia remains firmly opposed to such action, saying there is no evidence that President Bashar Assad's regime was responsible for the attack, as the US and its allies contend.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant looked grim as he walk past reporters today, saying "No comment". The other ambassadors also did not speak to reporters.

A Western diplomat said today's meeting was requested by Russia. Russia's UN mission refused to comment.

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