Diplomats hope Russia will back UN resolution


Envoys at the UN Security Council awaited a decision by Moscow yesterday on the latest version of a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing an Arab League plan for Syria, and some diplomats said the Kremlin may go along with it.

A senior Western envoy said the council's 15 ambassadors agreed a new text on Thursday. But early word from Moscow was that Russia's leadership was unhappy. Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying the draft was "not enough for us to be able to support it in this form." Morocco circulated a revised draft after Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told a closed session he would veto it if it were put to the vote with a phrase saying the body "fully supports" an Arab plan calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.

Russia, a long-term ally of Damascus , has led opposition to UN action on Syria out of concern that it could be seen as promoting "regime change" or even lead to Libya-style outside military intervention in the conflict.