DAMASCUS, July 5 (Xinhua) -- World powers have agreed on a roadmap to pave the way for a Syrian-led transition in Geneva but remain divided on the role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the process.
Britain and France on Wednesday clarified that although the Geneva final communique did not explicitly call for Assad to quit, it made clear there was no role for him in a unity government.
"Even if President Assad had a free hand in committing as many crimes, he will not be able to control the situation in Syria," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said at a joint news conference in Paris with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.
Hague, speaking ahead of a "Friends of Syria" meeting on Friday, urged Russia to stop backing its traditional ally.
"Russia must understand that the situation in Syria is leading towards a collapse, to terrible and grave violence, there is no point anybody standing by the Assad regime," Hague said.
Fabius said the world powers were working toward extending sanctions and would seek a U.N. Security Council resolution to ensure that the Geneva accord was implemented.
Hague said that if the Geneva accord was not soon in place "then it will be necessary for the UK, France and other countries to come back to the Security Council and seek stronger resolutions," but not the kind of military intervention used in Libya.
However, Russia has denied discussing the fate of Assad with the United States and reiterated the political transition should comply with the aspiration of the Syrian people.
"The future of the president of Syria has not been discussed with the U.S.," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Wednesday in response to reports the West was trying to persuade Russia to grant Assad political asylum.
"Our position has been repeated several times: questions about the power in Syria must be decided by the Syrian people. The proposals (about power in Syria) offered and, moreover, enforced from the outside could only (cause) harm," Ryabkov said.
Earlier Wednesday, Moscow's Kommersant daily reported Western countries, including the U.S.,, had asked Russia to offer Assad political asylum, but Moscow rejected the plan.
Meanwhile, China believes that the urgent task is to implement the outcome of the Geneva meeting.
Beijing's position on the upcoming "Friends of Syria" meeting has not changed, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said Wednesday, indicating that China would continue with its policy of not attending the events.
"At this point, there is no information that China will attend the meeting," Liu said.
Liu spoke after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia would not attend the meeting in Paris.
China and Russia didn't attend Friends of Syria meetings in Tunisia in February and Turkey in April.
In Syria, the government welcomed Wednesday the outcome of the Geneva conference, saying all issues are negotiable.
"Syria welcomes the final statement issued at the end of the conference, especially the substantial points that talked about commitment to the sovereignty, independence, safety and unity of the Syrian territories," the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry, however, said without specification that there were a few vague points in the statement that need clarification.
An action group comprised of some world powers met Saturday in Geneva and agreed that a transitional government should be set up in Syria to end the 16-month-long conflict but did not stipulate the ouster of Assad.
The meeting marked the first consensus among super powers regarding the Syrian issue, despite under-the-hood differences that were leaked to the media such as how Russia had managed to make the new approach more balanced after the U.S. had stipulated the ouster of Assad as a common ground for the Geneva talks.
Special Report: Syrian Situation