Arab FMs fail to decide fate of Syria's vacant Arab League seat

Al-Ezz Al-Tayeb , Sunday 24 Mar 2013

In run-up to Tuesday Arab League meeting in Qatar, Arab FMs have yet to decide whether Syria's seat in pan-Arab body should be handed over to country's armed opposition

On Sunday, ahead of a Tuesday Arab League meeting in Qatar, Arab foreign ministers failed to agree on a decision giving Syria's seat in the league to representatives of Syria's armed opposition.

Syrian opposition figures have been invited by Qatar's leadership to address the annual Arab League Summit in Doha, slated for Tuesday.

It is the first time for Syrian opposition representatives to be invited to such a meeting since Syria's armed insurgency erupted in early 2011.

Al-Aram's Arabic-language news website quoted a diplomatic source in Doha as saying that Arab League member-states remained divided over whether to give Damascus' vacant seat over to the country's main opposition bloc.

"A handful of countries, including Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria, oppose any decision that would allow the Syrian opposition to assume Damascus' seat in the league," the source said.

The source added that Arab foreign ministers had agreed to debate the issue further at a general league meeting on Tuesday.

Last week, diplomatic sources told Ahram Online that, if the Damascus government were stripped of its Arab League seat, the seat would go to representatives of both the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army.

Syria's place in the pan-Arab organisation has remained vacant since the country's suspension from the 22-member bloc in November 2011.

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