Russia does not support calls by the U.S. and EU member states for Syrian President Bashar Assad's resignation, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
"Our position regarding events in Syria is that the country's leadership should receive enough time to implement its large-scale political and economic reform program," a ministry statement said.
The ministry also said that Damascus had taken "substantial steps" in the direction of reforms with the lifting of the decade-long state of emergency.
"We do not share the U.S. and EU viewpoint regarding President Assad," the ministry said.
Meanwhile, four members of the UN Security Council - Britain, France, Germany and Portugal - will begin working on a Security Council resolution on sanctions against Syria, Britain's deputy permanent representative to the UN has said.
The government crackdown on opposition protests is estimated to have killed at least 2,000 civilians since demonstrations began in Syria five months ago.
In a phone conversation on Wednesday, Assad told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that all operations against protesters in Syria had been halted. But as reports of new violence followed the pledge, Syria's authoritarian ruler faced mounting pressure from world powers.