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Arab League chief hits back at Clinton after meeting Syria's Al-Assad

New Arab League chief Nabil El-Arabi says no one but the Syrian people can say President Bashar Al-Assad has lost legitimacy

MENA, Wednesday 13 Jul 2011
Bashar al-Assad
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) meets Arab League Chief Nabil Elaraby in Damascus July 13, 2011(Reuters)
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The new chief of the Arab League, Nabil El-Arabi, said Wednesday that he objected to any verbal attack on Syrian leaders after meeting President Bashar Al-Assad.

El-Arabi was responding to comments made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, in which she said that Al-Assad had "lost legitimacy, failed to deliver on the promises he's made, and has sought and accepted aid from the Iranians" on "how to repress his own people".

Al-Assad has been widely condemned for a brutal crackdown on demonstrators who are seeking to end his 11-year rule, inspired by popular revolts in fellow Arab countries Egypt and Tunisia.

"No one has the right to say a president of any country has lost his legitimacy. The country's people are the ones who are entitled to say that," said Egyptian El-Arabi, who recently succeeded compatriot Amr Moussa.

El-Arabi arrived in Syrian capital Damascus Wednesday afternoon and met Al-Assad and Syrian Vice-President Farouq Al-Shara to discuss a number of issues, including persistent demonstrations in the country.

The Arab League gave NATO and the US the green light to protect civilians in Libya after leader Muammar Gaddafi brutally responded to the popular uprising against his rule in February. However, El Arabi ruled out a similar scenario for Syria.

"There is no pressure whatsoever on the Arab League to make a decision over Syria similar the one made over Libya," he said.

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