Arab committee meets to discuss Syria sanctions

AFP , Saturday 3 Dec 2011

Arab Foreign ministers hold a especial meeting on Doha to discuss as set of sanctions imposed by the Arab league on Syria

An Arab ministerial committee on Syria began a meeting on Saturday in Doha to discuss a set of sanctions imposed on Damascus over its bloody crackdown on months of democracy protests.

The committee of foreign ministers will "look into a report prepared by experts about a series of Arab sanctions against Syria," the deputy secretary general of the Arab League, Ahmed bin Hilli, told AFP ahead of the meeting.

He said, however, that "contacts with Syria continue" over the Arab League demand to send observers, adding that the "door remains ajar."

The committee of experts met in Cairo on Wednesday.

The ministerial committee includes Algeria, Egypt, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, but it remains open to any member state wanting to take part.

The Arab League on Sunday approved sweeping sanctions against Assad's government over the crackdown -- the first time that the bloc has enforced punitive measures of such magnitude on one of its own members.

Measures include an immediate ban on transactions with Damascus and its central bank and a freeze on Syrian government assets in Arab countries.

They also bar Syrian officials from visiting Arab countries and call for a suspension of all flights to Arab states to be implemented on a date to be set next week.

The vote on sanctions came after Damascus defied an ultimatum to accept observers under an Arab League peace plan and put an end to the eight-month crackdown.

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