Arab ministers to meet on Syria
Cairo - Arab foreign ministers working on the Syrian crisis will meet in Cairo on Saturday to discuss the first report by an observer mission in Damascus, the Arab League said on Tuesday.
"The Arab League committee on Syria will meet Saturday at the Arab League headquarters," Assistant Secretary General Ahmed Ben Hilli told reporters.
"The meeting will discuss a preliminary report by the head of the observer mission in Syria, General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, over the most important aspects collected by the team on the ground," Ben Hilli said.
The monitors are in Damascus as part of an Arab plan endorsed by Syria, which calls for the withdrawal of the military from towns and residential districts, a halt to violence against civilians and the release of detainees.
The mission has already been the focus of controversy since a first team of 50 observers arrived on December 26, with activists saying the authorities are continuing to press a brutal crackdown on dissent despite the presence of the monitors.
And the Arab Parliament, an advisory body to the League, has even called for the observer mission to be withdrawn because of the relentless violence.
But Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi has defended the mission saying it had secured the release of political prisoners and the withdrawal of tanks from cities.