Russia has distributed a new draft resolution on the Syria crisis, at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The draft was sent to the Council's 14 other members and has asked for concerned experts to meet on Tuesday to debate the provisions.

Russia is a military ally of the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, and has insisted that any Security Council action target both the ruling government and the opposition movement in equal measure.

However, Western diplomats said the draft was confusing and failed to establish if the Russians would, in fact, accept certain demands made by the West.

Russia and China had earlier vetoed a European resolution on Syria, which called for a regime change, in October 2011. Russia then proposed its own resolution in December, 2011. Predictably, Britain, France, Germany and the U.S. said the text was not acceptable

Meanwhile, Moscow called on Washington to respect the sovereignty of Syria and facilitate a peaceful political settlement in the country. The statement came via the Foreign Ministry, after a meeting between the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, and the U.S. Undersecretary of State, William Burns.

The U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, urged the Council to take serious action against Syria, where casualties from the unrest have reached unacceptable levels. He also praised the Arab League for holding a dialogue with Assad and sending observers to Syria last month.

At the same time, Syrian opposition activists have criticized the observer mission, saying the government was deceiving the monitors and using them as cover to intensify security operations against the opposition.