A draft UN resolution on Syria seen by AFP on Tuesday calls for the regime to put an immediate stop to violence against protesters and for President Bashar al-Assad to hand power to his deputy.
The text also stresses there will be no foreign military intervention in a conflict that the United Nations says has killed more than 5,400 people in the past 10 months.
It demands that "the Syrian government immediately puts an end to all human rights violations and attacks against those exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association".
It calls on Assad to delegate his "full authority to his deputy" and then to form a national unity government leading to "transparent and free elections under Arab and international supervision".
The text insists it does not compel states "to resort to the use of force, or the threat of force", which a diplomat said was a statement aimed at answering the concerns of Russia and China.
Russia, a veto-wielding UN Security Council member, has exasperated the West by insisting it will not back a resolution calling on Assad to step down.
China and Russia used their veto powers as permanent members of the council to block a previous resolution on Syria.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the head of the Arab League and the foreign ministers of Britain and France were gathering in New York on Tuesday to push forward the UN resolution and persuade Russia to drop its opposition.