1 of 2 | Vitaly Churkin, Russia's United Nations permanent representative, talks with a colleague before addressing the Security Council Jan. 31, 2012, about the Arab League's peace plan for Syria. UPI/Monika Graff | License Photo
UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- The United Nations Security Council tentatively backed an Arab League plan for Syria after dropping language on President Bashar Assad's ceding of power.
The resolution also was stripped of a provision that called for a voluntary arms embargo and sanctions and observers said its passage is uncertain, The New York Times reported Friday.
The resolution must be approved by the Security Council's 15 members, including Russia, which vetoed a similar proposal in October. Russia is an ally of Syria and its major weapons supplier.
Diplomats acknowledged the changes reduce pressure on the Syrian government to end its violent response to anti-government demonstrators, but said they want to focus on supporting the Arab League's efforts to push the Assad regime toward democracy.
The ambassadors said they would send the resolution to their governments to determine whether to press forward on a vote.
"What the Arab League is seeking from the Security Council is strong support and that is what we concluded," Morocco's permanent representative, Mohammed Loulichki, told the Times. "In the negotiations, of course, we could not translate all the elements, but they are well-known by everybody."
Morocco drafted the resolution.
The draft being sent by ambassadors to their home governments, obtained by the Times, said the Security Council "fully supports" the Arab League plan. While language that backed certain aspects of the plan, including a call for Assad to cede his authority to his vice president to hasten transition to democracy, was deleted, Arab and Western diplomats said the core elements remained. Also, the phrase "Syrian-led" was added to emphasize that outsiders should not inject themselves into the transition.
"There are some still-complicated issues that our capitals will have to deliberate on and provide each of us with instructions on," U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said.
Asked whether Russia could support the draft, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said, "The end result is that we do have a text which we are going to report to our capitals, and we will see what the outcome will be."
The new resolution condemns the violence on both sides and would adopt across-the-board steps to end the bloodshed that the Arab League has demanded since November They include ending all violence, releasing detained protesters, withdrawing Syrian troops from civilian areas and guaranteeing the right to peaceful demonstrations.