UNITED NATIONS — Key Security Council members have agreed on a statement, presented to the council on Thursday, that condemns the sinking of a South Korean warship that left 46 sailors dead, but avoids singling out North Korea for the attack.


Since early June, the United States and its main Asian allies on the issue, Japan and South Korea, have been pressing the Security Council to take a firm stance on the fatal attack on the ship, the Cheonan, in March. But China and Russia were adamant that the council not blame North Korea directly, according to Security Council diplomats.


The statement “condemns the attack which led to the sinking of the Cheonan” and “calls for appropriate and peaceful measures to be taken against those responsible,” without blaming North Korea. It also notes that North Korea denied involvement.


But it does cite a South Korean investigation, in which five nations participated, that concluded that North Korea torpedoed the ship.


“We think the statement is very clear,” said Ambassador Susan. E. Rice of the United States, which circulated the draft. “It puts forth the factual foundation and it expresses the council’s judgment that the attack on the ship is to be condemned and that no further attacks against the Republic of Korea should be contemplated.”


Ms. Rice also avoided naming North Korea as directly responsible in her statements to the news media. The wording was reached through negotiations among the permanent members of the Security Council — the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain — along with Japan, a temporary member, and South Korea.


It was presented to the remaining council members on Thursday and was expected to pass Friday.


Security Council diplomats and experts noted that the language, though convoluted, was probably the best achievable result, given that Beijing had initially wanted the sinking referred to as an incident or an act, not an attack. Neither the Chinese nor Russian ambassadors commented after Thursday’s council session.


“It strikes me as the best that South Korea could have hoped for, given that China was not going to go forward with an outright condemnation, but it seems unlikely to satisfy anybody,” said David C. Kang, the director of the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California. “It condemns the attack without stating exactly who they think the attackers were.”


North Korea has threatened to respond with force to any Security Council action. But given the indirect condemnation, Pyongyang would most likely see the outcome as a victory and do nothing, Mr. Kang said.