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Arabs, EU Make Concessions to Russia in Final UN Syria Draft

Arab and European Union negotiators at the United Nations will put to a vote a draft Security Council resolution backing an Arab League plan to “facilitate a Syrian-led political transition,” a step down from a more explicit call for President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

The final draft, obtained late yesterday by Bloomberg News, “fully supports” the Arab League’s Jan. 22 decision “to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system.” It’s unclear if the latest change in language, which adds “Syrian-led,” will be enough to placate Russian concerns that the proposal still endorses regime change.

A previous draft had already stripped all references to Assad delegating “full powers” to his deputy. The new draft explicitly says “nothing in this resolution authorizes” military action, addressing Russian concerns over last March’s UN authorization of a no-fly zone over Libya that was interpreted to justify NATO military strikes that helped bring down Muammar Qaddafi’s regime.

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