The U.N. Security Council this week will take up a draft resolution proposed by Morocco that calls on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and transfer power.
"It is primarily a straightforward condemnation of what has transpired, a call upon the government of Syria to adhere to the commitments it made," U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice told reporters about the draft. She noted that it contains no sanctions nor does it threaten the use of force.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the draft demands the government end the violence, pull back its heavy weaponry from residential areas, allow monitors to operate freely, release political prisoners and allow the news media to operate.
"This is a regime composed of a small minority that is now attacking the majority of Syrians," she said. "It is the regime that bears responsibility for the violence."
Nuland said U.S. officials have also seen reports "of Iran playing a nefarious role inside Syria." But, she added, "we are not in a position to confirm the accuracy" of those reports.
The proposal comes after the Arab League suspended a mission to monitor whether al-Assad was abiding by an agreement to end the crackdown, which has left thousands of civilians dead.
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil el-Araby is scheduled Tuesday to deliver the monitoring mission's findings to the Security Council. He and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani will also address reporters.
"A swift reaction by the U.N. Security Council is urgently needed," said Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council. "I urge all members of the U.N. Security Council to assume their responsibilities in relation to the situation in Syria, and adopt steps long overdue in order to bring an end to the repression in Syria."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday called for the council to "send a clear message of support to the Syrian people: We stand with you."
"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the escalation of the Syrian regime's violent and brutal attacks on its own people," Clinton said in a statement. "The longer the Assad regime continues its attacks on the Syrian people and stands in the way of a peaceful transition, the greater the concern that instability will escalate and spill over throughout the region."
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe will travel to U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday "in order to persuade the Security Council to fully assume its responsibilities in the face of the increased level of crimes against humanity being perpetrated by the Syrian regime," according to a statement on France's U.N. delegation's website.
"Everything must be done to bring an end to the spiral of violence now resulting from the bloody crackdown that Bashar al-Assad's regime has been imposing for more than 10 months," the statement continues, urging other nations to support the Moroccan resolution. "It's time for the Security Council to be able to take action in order to help resolve this crisis."
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), citing an official source at the Foreign and Expatriates Ministry, reported Tuesday that "the U.S.-Western hostile statements" are being espoused to "target Syria and create a different image about the ... Syrian crisis."
"We won't be astonished at the absence of wisdom and reasonability of those statements," said the source, who was not identified. "We regret that those statements are still coming from countries accustomed to making the Middle East a field for their foolishness and failing experiments."
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia had proposed its own draft resolution calling for the end to violence by all sides, the rejection of foreign interference in Syria and the start of an international dialogue without conditions, SANA said Monday, citing Japanese NHK Television.
"We are convinced that the Moscow contacts are indispensable in order to immediately cease any violence in Syria, prevent bloodshed and confrontation in the society, and ensure the success of deep democratic transformations in the country in compliance with the aspirations of all Syrians," the ministry said, according to the state-run Itar-Tass News Agency.
Russia said Syrian authorities have agreed to informal talks with opposition representatives in Moscow. "We are expecting that the opposition will also give their assent in the next days and put the interests of the Syrian people before any other ideas," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
SANA carried two reports quoting Russian officials rejecting foreign interference. One cited a Russian official as complaining that "the opposition and those supporting it in the west and Arab world" are refusing to engage in dialogue.
One of the Syrian reports also cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as calling on the Security Council "to study in detail the report of the Arab League Observer Mission on Syria" before discussing the draft resolution the Arab League has presented to the Security Council.
Morocco's draft resolution calls for al-Assad to step down and supports "full implementation" of the Arab League recommendations on Syria. That would include calling on Syria to form a unity government within two months.