As diplomacy to end the Syria crisis escalates, peace envoy Lakhar Brahimi on Thursday called for the installation of a transitional government in Syria that would run the country until elections could be held.
Brahimi's comments come as a Syrian envoy was in Moscow where Russia said Thursday that it was intensifying its efforts to end bloodshed in Syria.
Brahimi, who plans to be in Russia on Saturday for talks on Syria, told reporters in Damascus that a transition period must not lead to a collapse of the state or state institutions.
Brahimi commented as he wrapped up his latest trip to Syria, which included talks with President Bashar al-Assad.
Brahimi did not specify if the transition would include President Assad and there was no immediate response from the Syrian leader.
Also, Brahimi denied reports that he had a Russian-U.S backed peace plan to discuss with Syria.
"Some said in Syria and outside Syria that I have come here to market a Russian American project," the envoy told reporters. "I wish if there was a Russian-American project. There is no Russian American project and hence I didn't come here to market it."
The U.S. and Western allies supporting Syria's opposition have not been a party to the Russia talks and are demanding Assad leave office.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Moscow is stepping up dialogue with both the Syrian government and opposition groups.
He spoke shortly after a Syrian delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Maqdad, met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Lukashevich also dismissed reports suggesting the Syrian government had been using chemical weapons against the opposition, saying the reports were designed to provoke "foreign armed intervention" into Syria's conflict.
Syrian opposition activists have accused the government of using lethal gas to kill rebels -- a charge the government denies.
However, earlier this month, NATO authorized the deployment of a missile defense system to Turkey, after Ankara expressed concerns about cross-border shelling and the Syrian government's possible use of chemical weapons against rebels.