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Major UN powers discuss new Syria resolution as Chinese envoy arrives in Damascus

(Xinhua)

15:15, March 07, 2012

UNITED NATIONS/DAMASCUS, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The five permanent members of the UN Security Council on Tuesday began a closed-door discussion over a new Syria resolution to end the country's months-long violence.

The new draft resolution, proposed by the United States, demanded "unhindered humanitarian access" and called for efforts from the Syrian government to end violence and withdraw troops from protest-hit cities.

It also asked the Syrian authorities to release all prisoners detained for protests.

Ambassadors from the five major UN powers -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, along with Morocco, the only Arab representative on the 15-nation council, took part in the discussion.

It remained unclear about the details of the draft resolution and outcomes of the discussion.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday pledged to defend the nation against "foreign plots" and accused Western countries of attempting to undermine the country's stability.

"The Syrian people have foiled all previous foreign schemes and have proven once again that they are able to protect their homeland and build a new Syria though their determination to carry on with the reforms in tandem with confronting the foreign-backed terrorism," Assad said when meeting with a Ukrainian delegation.

The UN discussion was held ahead of the upcoming visit by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was appointed by the UN and the Arab League as special envoy to address the crisis in the violence-wracked Syria.

The Syrian government said Monday that it welcomed Annan and sanctioned a visit of UN emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos for an evaluation of the country's humanitarian situation.

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