GCC to meet on Syria: Omani minister

AFP, Monday 6 Feb 2012

The foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council will meet in Riyadh this week to discuss the Syrian crisis, days after Russia and china vetoed a UN resolution condemning the bloodshed in the Arab country

Bodied of children killed by Syrian army (Photo: AP)

Foreign ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will meet in the Saudi capital later this week to discuss developments in Syria, Oman's foreign minister said on Monday.

The announcement came just two days after China and Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning a deadly crackdown by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime on nearly 11 months of protests, drawing condemnation from other global powers and the Syrian opposition.

"The foreign ministers of the GCC will meet in Riyadh... to debate and exchange views on the situation in Syria," Yussef bin Alawi told AFP.

The meeting will be held on the eve of an Arab League ministerial meeting in Cairo, and is expected to focus on "the situation after the failure of the UN" to adopt a Security Council resolution supporting a League plan to end the crisis, Alawi said.

The Arab League, which suspended an observer mission in Syria because of an upsurge in the violence there, is due to meet in the Egyptian capital on Sunday.

The Cairo meeting, which had been scheduled for Saturday, was "moved to Sunday based on a request from the Gulf Cooperation Council," the Arab League assistant secretary general, Ahmed ben Helli, told AFP.

"The Arabs and everybody else face a dilemma over Syria," said Alawi. "The Arab League must organise its efforts to resolve the crisis in such a way that it leads to dialogue."

"Everybody is afraid and does not want to take part in any resolution or step that leads to international intervention," said Alawi, adding that "everyone wants to promote dialogue."

"I see no way to resolve the crisis except by pushing for dialogue," he said.

Thirteen countries voted on Saturday for the UN resolution to end the crackdown in Syria, where activists say at least 6,000 people have been killed since the protests against Assad's regime erupted in mid-March last year.

The double veto by Russia and China on the resolution came hours after the opposition Syrian National Council reported a "massacre" in the central city of Homs, with more than 230 civilians killed in an assault by regime forces.

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