The U.N. and Arab League peace envoy on Syria Kofi Annan has urged U.N. Security Council members to take “strong and concerted action” to end the violence in Syria, a statement said Wednesday.
In talks with a number of governments on Tuesday, Annan “urged members of the Security Council to unite and take concerted and strong action that would help stem the bloodshed in Syria and build momentum for a political transition,” said Annan’s spokesman in a statement.
The Security Council, meanwhile, postponed a vote on a Western-drafted resolution calling for sanctions against Syria following a request from Annan, envoys said.
“We will be voting tomorrow morning,” said Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, whose country took the lead in drawing up the sanctions resolution, after talks among the major powers.
Annan had asked the U.N. Security Council to delay the vote, British diplomats said earlier on Wednesday.
“Joint Special Envoy Annan has asked to delay today’s draft Syria resolution vote. With fellow co-sponsors we're considering that request,” a British spokesman said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Annan feels it is still possible to get a compromise with Russia on the resolution,” said a diplomat from another U.N. Security Council nation, confirming the move.
Foreign ministers from the five permanent Security Council members -- Russia, United States, France, Britain and China -- were also negotiating the future of the resolution that Russia has vowed to veto, diplomats said.
U.N. ambassadors from the five countries planned to hold their own talks before announcing whether the vote would go ahead, diplomats said.
Britain, with the backing of France, United States, Germany and Portugal, has proposed a resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which threatens non-military sanctions if President Bashar al-Assad does not halt the use of heavy weapons within 10 days of a resolution being passed.
Russia fiercely opposes the threat of sanctions.
More than 17,000 people have been killed since a popular uprising against Assad began 16 months ago, activists say.