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Russia balks on Syrian resolution

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Russian officials said a draft resolution against Syria at the U.N. Security Council is unacceptable because it doesn't advocate political dialogue.

The United Nations estimates that nearly 3,000 people have been killed by Syrian security forces since an uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad began in mid-March.

The Security Council hasn't issued more than a strong message of condemnation because members aren't able to reach a consensus agreement. CNN reported that European backers softened the language of the resolution to get veto-wielding Russia and China on board.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Moscow wouldn't back the measure because it said nothing about foreign interference or political dialogue, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reports.

Moscow has maintained that dialogue was the best way to resolve the conflict in Syria. Assad has rolled out a series of reform measures that his government says allays many opposition concerns. Washington, and many of its Western allies, has brushed off those pledges because of the ongoing bloodshed.

Syrian opposition groups outside the country have banded together in a show of unity. Inside Syria, however, the security situation has taken a new turn as opposition groups have resorted to taking up arms against Syrian forces.

"We blame this violence on the Syrian regime," said U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. "They're the ones who have started it by firing on innocents. They're the ones who have escalated the tension. They're the ones in the strongest position to stop it."

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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