Syria 'regrets' Arab decision to pull out

2012-01-28 23:05
Damascus - Syria said it was surprised by and regrets the Arab League's decision to suspend its observer mission to the unrest-swept country on Saturday.

"Syria is surprised by and regrets the decision taken by [Arab League chief Nabil] al-Arabi to suspend the observer mission after having decided [last week] to extend it for a month," state news agency SANA said on its website.

An unidentified official accused Arabi of acting at the request of Qatar, which heads the Arab League's committee on Syria, ahead of a UN Security Council meeting next week.

"This decision is aimed at increasing the pressure for foreign intervention in Syrian affairs," SANA quoted him as saying.

Earlier this month, Qatar suggested sending an Arab military force to Syria to work towards an end to the 11 months of violence that the United Nations says has killed more than 5 400 people.

Damascus rejected that proposal.

The 165 League observers were deployed a month ago after Syria agreed to a League plan foreseeing a halt to the violence, prisoners freed, tanks withdrawn from built-up areas and free movement of observers and foreign media.

Damascus has not fulfilled the commitments it made under that deal.

On Friday, several Arab countries submitted to the Security Council a draft resolution that follows the general lines of a League proposal made last week that would have President Bashar Assad step down in favour of his deputy and a unity government formed.
Read more on:    arab league  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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