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Arab League temporarily suspends Syria's participation in ministerial meetings

Syria's membership in the Arab League is not frozen but its participation in ministerial meetings is suspended pending an end to violence against demonstrators

Dina Ezzat , Saturday 12 Nov 2011
Yussef al-Ahmad, Syria's ambassador to the Arab League (Photo:AP)
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Views: 3080

It was with harsh language that Syrian Permanent Representative Youssef Ahmed reacted to the decision of the Arab League, reached by consensus with some reservations, to suspend Syria's participation in the Arab Foreign Ministers Council pending an end to the use of violence by the Syrian regime against pro-democracy demonstrators.

The resolution was reached following extensive consultations over the past two days, with Qatar taking the leading in discussion with concerned regional and international powers.

The resolution, to which Lebanon and Yemen objected, and on which Iraq expressed reservations, promises to lift the suspension once Syria ends the use of violence against protestors calling for an end to the Bashar Al-Assad regime

The suspension is applicable starting 16 November. An Arab League ministerial meeting is scheduled in Morocco on that day to review developments. "If the Syrian regime has ended the use of violence by then, as it had promised two weeks ago when it agreed to the Arab initiative to end the crisis in Syria, then the suspension would not go into effect," said Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad Ben Jassim whose country is chairing the Arab League ministerial council.

Meanwhile, the resolution of the Arab League called on the Syrian army to refrain from attacking civilian protestors at the behest of the regime. It also promised coordination with the UN Human Rights Council to provide protection for Syrian civilians.

The resolution announced the willingness of the Arab League to receive all representatives of the Syrian opposition at the headquarters of the pan-Arab organisation in Cairo within three days to consult on a possible exit to the current crisis.

"If no agreement is reachable between the regime and the opposition then we have to come back to the Arab League as foreign ministers to decide our next step," Ben Jassem said.

For his part, Arab League Secretary General Nabil El-Araby said that the resolution does not open the door to foreign intervention in Syria. "We are working within the Arab framework and this what we have been working with the Syrian government on for the past four months, and today we are expecting the Syrian government to fully honour its commitments to end the violence in Syria."

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