The UN Security Council could vote as early as next week on a Western-Arab draft resolution endorsing the Arab League's call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to transfer powers to his deputy, council diplomats said on Wednesday.
It remains unclear whether Russia - which together with China vetoed a European-drafted resolution in October that condemned Syria and threatened it with sanctions over its 10-month crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators - is prepared to wield its veto powers once again to block council action on Syria.
European and US delegations have been working with Qatar and the Arab Security Council member, Morocco, on a new draft resolution. The text, obtained by Reuters, urges council support for a "political transition" in Syria, where government forces have killed thousands of demonstrators inspired by Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.
"We hope to push forward with that in the Security Council quite quickly," a senior Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
The new draft will replace a Russian text, which Western diplomats say is too weak and no longer relevant in light of the Arab League call for Assad to hand power to his deputy.