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United Nations - Mar 12, 2012 - 20:28

Last modified: 12 Mar 2012 17:28
[Photo: AFP]

The United States, its European allies and the UN chief have slammed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a year-long assault on anti-government protests that has killed thousands of civilians and brought Syria to the brink of civil war.

Western nations also stepped up pleas to Russia and China on Monday to end their blockage on UN Security Council action over the Syrian government's deadly assault on protest cities.

However, Russia showed little sign of that it would change its stance at the meeting, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slamming "risky recipes" which he said risked increasing conflict in the Middle East.

Syria dominated a UN Security Council ministerial meeting on the Arab uprisings, which came a day after UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan left Damascus, where he met Assad.
"I add my voice to that of Mr Annan in urging President Assad to act swiftly, within the next few days, in response to the proposals put forward" by the envoy, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, told the meeting.

"I appeal to the Security Council to unite strongly behind ending the violence and supporting Mr Annan's mission to help Syria pull back from the brink of a deeper catastrophe," he added.
Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey, reporting from New York, said the meeting further exposed the disagreements within the Security Council.

"As we saw at this meeting, the international community remains divided. [UN Secretary-General] Ban Ki-moon is calling on everyone in the council to speak with one voice to end the bloodshed on Syria, but there seems to be serious differences on how to proceed."

Read our news story for more detail and context: US and UN demand end to Syria bloodshed 

For the latest on the violence in Syria click here.

For more of Al Jazeera's special coverage visit our spotlight page: Syria - The War Within