Gulf to pull monitors, press Russia on Syria: media

AFP , Tuesday 24 Jan 2012

Gulf Cooperation Council members are reportedly pulling their monitors from Syria in a protest to the deadly crackdown by the Assad regime on its opponents

An image grab taken on December 15, 2011 from a video uploaded on YouTube shows the bodies of Syrian men who were allegedly killed by security forces and militia in Rastan in the central Homs province. (Photo: AFP)

The Arab states of the Gulf intend to follow the Saudi lead by withdrawing their observers from Syria, Kuwaiti newspapers reported on Tuesday, citing diplomatic sources.

The Gulf Cooperation Council states will also take part in a high-level Arab delegation that will visit Russia to press Moscow to end its support for Bashar al-Assad's regime, Kuwait's Al-Qabas daily reported, quoting diplomats.

The GCC "countries are moving towards pulling all their monitors" out of Syria, the newspaper reported, because they don't want observers to stay "false witnesses to the crimes committed against civilians by the Syrian regime."

Syria is exploiting observers to temper a solution to the crisis, the newspaper quoted officials as saying.

Al-Qabas and Al-Seyassah dailies said foreign ministers of the six-nation GCC met in Cairo following the Arab League meeting Sunday and decided to withdraw their observers.

The report did not specify when the monitors would leave.

Saudi Arabia, the largest GCC member, decided on Sunday to pull its observers from a widely criticised Arab League mission to Syria. Other GCC members include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said Riyadh "is withdrawing from the mission because the Syrian government has not respected any of the clauses" in the Arab plan aimed at ending the crisis.

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