As the bloodshed continues in Syria its leadership appears to be edging towards a deal with the Arab League to end eight months of unrest.
Dozens of people are reported to have been killed in the latest violence in the city of Homes.
Damascus is facing Arab and other international sanctions in response to its crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad. The government now says its ready to sign an Arab League peace plan.
A foreign ministry spokesman said: “We have presented a positive Syrian position and we’re ready to sign the protocol. We’ve asked for it to be done in Damascus as a sign of good will, and asked for the annulment of sanctions and he unfreezing of our membership (of the Arab League) as soon as the protocol is signed.”
The Arab League says its considering the Syrian government’s response. But the opposition remains unconvinced.
One of its leaders Louay Hussein said: “The government is trying to postpone the signing of the agreement, even if it could gain a few more hours. This shows that it’s still wavering in terms of implementing the agreement and stopping violence”
As part of the sanctions, French oil giant Total said it will stop production in Syria. Separately, US Secret of State Hilary Clinton will meet opposition leaders in Geneva today.