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US proposes new Syria resolution

The US is proposing a new UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to violence in Syria, first by government forces and then by opposition fighters.

Diplomats said the draft resolution would be discussed behind closed doors by the five permanent council members - the US, the UK, Russia, China and France - and Morocco, the Arab representative on the council.

Russia and China have vetoed two council resolutions saying they were unbalanced and only demanded that the government stop attacks, not the opposition.

The US draft also condemns the continuing human rights violations by president Bashar Assad's government.

The move came amid reports that China's special envoy to Syria was expected to press authorities for a ceasefire even as Beijing remains firmly opposed to any foreign intervention in the conflict.

Li Huaqing, a former Chinese ambassador to Syria, was set to meet Syrian government officials during his two-day visit.

Meanwhile, Russian foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow was remaining firm in its policy on the crisis and urging the West to press the Syrian opposition to stop fighting Assad's regime.

Moscow last month blocked a Security Council resolution against Damascus and accused the West of fuelling the conflict by backing the opposition.

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