Lebanon wants Syria back in Arab League
Bucharest - Lebanon will demand that Syria be allowed back into the Arab League when the pan-Arab grouping holds its summit next month, President Michel Sleiman said on Tuesday.
"Lebanon is standing by its position that no Arab nation should be left out of this organisation," Sleiman told a press conference in Bucharest. "The Arab League does not represent only [political] systems but also nations."
But Sleiman, who is on a two-day visit in Romania, said that Lebanon would nevertheless remain committed to whatever decision was taken by the Arab League, which is to hold a summit in Iraq in late March.
The Arab League voted in November to suspend Syria's participation in the 22-member body over the bloody crackdown on protesters by President Bashar Assad's regime.
Iraq said earlier this month that it would not invite the Syrian government or the opposition to the Baghdad summit.
Sanctions beefed up
The violence in Syria has killed more than 7 600 people since March, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
Romanian President Traian Basescu said Bucharest backed the stance of the European Union, which on Monday beefed up its sanctions against the Syrian regime.
Citing the example of Romania's former dictatorship, which was toppled after a violently repressed uprising in 1989, Basescu said that no head of state can cling to power after opening fire against his own people.
"I am aware of the particular situation in Syria, where president Bashar is still quite popular and where part of the armed forces are still loyal to him," Basescu said.
"But the principle according to which a head of state who opens fire against his people can no longer remain in power still stands."