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UN Security Council meets on Syria

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Saturday to take up a much-negotiated resolution on Syria, a Western diplomat has said.

The confirmation came after the UN announced the meeting to news correspondents, then sent out another email asking reporters to "please disregard until further notice" the earlier announcement. The exact hour of the meeting was unclear.

The move towards a vote came after US secretary of state Hillary Clinton spoke by telephone with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in an effort to overcome Russian opposition to any statement that explicitly calls for regime change or military intervention in Syria.

The US and its partners have ruled out military action but want the global body to endorse an Arab League plan that calls on Bashar Assad to hand power over to Syria's vice president.

Mrs Clinton called Mr Lavrov while flying to Munich, Germany, for a security conference that both are attending, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

He said she and Mr Lavrov agreed to have American and Russian diplomats continue work on a Syria resolution and were planning to meet for more talks over the weekend.

Russia's deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov said Moscow could not support the resolution in its current form, but expressed optimism that an agreement could be reached, according to state news agency RIA Novosti.

Assad's regime has been intensifying an assault against army defectors and protesters.

The UN said weeks ago that more than 5,400 people had been killed in violence since March. Hundreds more have been killed since that tally was announced.


From Belfast Telegraph