The United States and France are confident a tough resolution against Syria will be adopted at a UN foreign ministers meeting on Monday although Russia and China still have misgivings.
The Security Council resolution threatens economic sanctions against Damascus if it does not cooperate fully with a UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and imposes a travel ban and a freeze on assets overseas on those suspected of the killing.
"We are very close. We are close to resolving it," US Ambassador John Bolton told reporters. "We will need what we need to do for this resolution to be ready for consideration on Monday."
Consultations are planned till Sunday but Bolton said he had the minimum nine votes needed to adopt a resolution and did not "foresee a veto."
Some 13 foreign ministers of the 15 council members may attend the session, Bolton said. Syria's Foreign Minister Farouq Al Shara is also expected to speak.
But there was no sign that Russia and China, who have veto power, as well as Algeria, the council's only Arab member, had agreed on the threat of economic sanctions.
"It is premature and unjustified to talk about sanctions when the investigation is still going on," said Algeria's UN ambassador, Abdallah Baali, representing the 22-nation Arab bloc.
Baali said six council members agreed with him but the aim was to get a unanimous vote. "We hope to use the weekend to move toward unanimity," he said.
France's UN ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere, who helped draft the text that Britain is also sponsoring, said "The vote will take place on Monday."
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who will be dining in Washington with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday, is expected to be in New York on Monday. He has expressed his opposition to sanctions.