Russia's foreign minister has rebuffed calls on Moscow to back sanctions against Syria, saying that ultimatums won't help end the crisis.
Sergei Lavrov said the West was taking an "immoral" stance on Syria by raising the pressure on President Bashar Assad's government while turning a blind eye to violent action by militants.
Lavrov was speaking at a news conference following his talks with visiting Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci.
Lavrov also said that Moscow has advised Syria to accept Arab League observers as quickly as possible.
UN rights chief Navi Pillay said on December 12 that more than 5,000 people have died in the nine-month-long Syrian conflict.
Pillay urged the UN Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court for investigation of possible crimes against humanity.
Last month, Russia and China vetoed a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution condemning the bloodshed in Syria.
compiled from agency reports