By Ray Fleming

THE news from the UN Security Council about Syria late yesterday was that the
Arab League, the EU and America may be ready to meet some of Russia's objections to the “Moroccan” resolution that has been under discussion for the past two days and which calls for President Assad to stand-down in favour of his deputy.

Instead, there is reference to the Arab League's role in “facilitating a political transition”. Russia, an old ally of the present Syrian regime, has made clear it will veto any resolution that hints at regime change or military intervention.

While the killing of Syrian opponents of President Assad is appalling it is important that any external action is likely to make matters better rather than worse.

The rebels in Syria are not united and the Arab League's proposal is extremely vague. Russia has some reason to complain that the West took advantage of its support for the UN resolution on Libya and does not want to be misled a second time.

One missing country in the current negotiations is Turkey , Syria's neighbour, which should be involved as soon as possible.
Obviously, the Syrian situation cannot be left to fester indefinitely but precipitate or unilateral action could be a serious mistake. Diplomacy must be given every chance to find a solution that addresses Syria's best long- as well as short-term interests.