1 Feb 2012

UN moves seen as path to civil war in Syria

2:59 pm on 1 February 2012

Russia says the drive by Western and Arab nations to adopt a United Nations resolution aimed at getting rid of Syria's leader is a path to civil war.

Russia has already said it will use its veto against the resolution, which is being discussed at a UN Security Council meeting on the crisis in Syria.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is strongly in favour of the Arab League's proposal that President Bashar al-Assad step down.

But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said: "The Western draft Security Council resolution on Syria will not lead to a search for compromise.

"Pushing it is a path to civil war," Interfax quoted Mr Gatilov as saying

The BBC reports the latest draft of the UN resolution strongly condemns violence and human rights abuses by the Syrian government.

It calls on countries to stop the flow of arms to Syria, although it does not impose an arms embargo.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Australia on Tuesday that Russia would never let the Security Council approve military action in Syria, according to Russian news agencies.

Russia has also said that Mr Assad's resignation must not be a precondition for a process meant to end the bloodshed in Syria and that any such specific political change should be discussed as part of a peace process.