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AFP

UN Security Council to meet on Syria late January

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council are set to discuss the deteriorating situation in Syria at a meeting at the end of January, a Russian diplomat said Monday.

Russia's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mikhail Bogdanov, told the Interfax news agency that the meeting is likely to take place as Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN's peace envoy to Syria, presents a new report on the situation in the country.

Bogdanov said the meeting would be held "before the end of January, around the 25th, 26th, 27th."

Although he did not go into details of the participants, he said a ministerial meeting was unlikely.

"It will be on a vice minister level," he said.

The permanent members of the Security Council are Russia and China, which have been traditional Damascus allies, and the United States, Britain and France, which are calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down and actively support the opposition.

Bogdanov also indicated that the UN was looking at ways of sending a new observer mission to Syria.

"It seems as if the need will emerge to send a solid team of international observers there. I think several options are being discussed," he said.

It will be on a vice minister level.