UN statement on Syria political transition delayed by Venezuela objections

Security Council approval of a draft U.N. statement strongly backing intensive preparatory talks on key issues to restore peace to conflict-torn Syria has been delayed because of objections from Venezuela.

Council diplomats had hoped to adopt the presidential statement Wednesday afternoon. But Venezuela asked for changes to the some language about a political transition and discussions were continuing on the text, the diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because consultations have been private.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters Wednesday he expects the statement to be adopted Thursday.

Churkin said last Friday there was "a high possibility" the deeply divided council would endorse U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura's recently announced plan aimed at setting the stage for new peace talks to end the Syrian war.