The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council failed to reach an agreement Wednesday on a British-proposed resolution that would authorize the use of military force against Syria, as the U.N. chief pleaded for more time for diplomacy.
The draft resolution — if it were to be put to a vote — would almost certainly be vetoed by Russia and China, which have blocked past attempts to sanction President Bashar Assad's regime.
Late Wednesday, Britain's mission to the U.N. said no decision had been made on moving forward with its resolution, CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk reports from U.N. headquarters in New York.
After the council fell short of reaching an agreement, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters in Washington that the U.S. sees "no avenue forward" given Russia's past opposition to action by the council on Syria.
"We've consistently said that we support U.N. Security Council action," Harf told reporters. "Instead, what we've seen, not just today, not just last week, but over the course of many months, is the Russians at every move doing things to fail to hold the Syrian regime accountable."
Britain put forth the proposal Wednesday as momentum seemed to be building among Western allies for a strike against Syria. U.S. officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, have charged that Assad's government used deadly chemical weapons near Damascus last week.
British MPs have voted to reject possible military action against the Assad regime in Syria to deter the use of chemical weapons. A government motion was defeated by 285 to 272, a majority of 13 votes. Prime Minster David Cameron said it was clear Parliament does not want action and "the government will act accordingly". It effectively rules out British involvement in any US-led strikes against the Assad regime.
President Obama appeared increasingly isolated after British Prime Minister David Cameron lost a vote Thursday in the House of Commons on endorsing military action. It was a stunning defeat for a government that days ago called for punishing Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces for alleged use of chemical weapons against rebel-held neighborhoods last week.
Britain "will not be involved" in any military strikes on Syria, Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said after the vote. However, he added, "I don't expect that the lack of British participation will stop any action." Obama administration officials made their case for armed intervention in a conference call with congressional leaders Thursday night.