Syria signs deal on Arab monitors

2011-12-19 18:33
Cairo - Syria agreed on Monday to let Arab League observers into the country to monitor implementation of a deal it agreed last month to pull troops from protest-hit towns, free political prisoners and start talking to dissidents.

However, the executive head of the League said after the signing of a protocol on foreign observers that there was no immediate plan to lift sanctions that were imposed when Damascus at first refused outside monitors. Nabil Elaraby said observers would now determine whether Syria's government was complying.

"The protocol is a mechanism to go to Syria and move freely to ensure the implementation of the Arab initiative on Syria. What counts is good faith in implementation," Elaraby, the Arab League secretary-general, said.

An advance party would head to Syria this week to prepare for the arrival of monitors.

President Bashar al-Assad's administration broadly agreed in November to the Arab League peace initiative aimed at defusing a violent confrontation that has left more than 5 000 dead.

Pressure

But a refusal to let in outside observers had prompted other Arab states to impose sanctions. And Assad's opponents have complained that troops are still present in some cities, fighting with Assad's opponents, while other elements of the peace accord have also not been implemented in full.

Speaking of lifting the Arab League sanctions, Elaraby told a news conference after the signing in Cairo: "This has not happened, as that would require another meeting."

He also said a meeting of Arab foreign ministers planned this week, and which had been due to discuss action against Damascus, would be "indefinitely postponed".

The protocol on monitors was signed by Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, after Damascus had previous called for amendments to the plan.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been at the forefront of efforts to press Syria to sign. Elaraby said others also helped.

"Some countries played a helping hand in signing the protocol, including Russia," Elaraby said.

He added that an advanced team led by a top Arab League official would head to Syria in two or three days to prepare for the arrival of the monitors.

"We now have about 100 names including representatives of non-governmental organisations and governments," he said, adding that media representatives and members of security forces would be included.

Armed resistance has emerged in the last two months in Syria, alongside a peaceful protest movement that began in March inspired by uprisings across the Arab world.

Loyalist forces, including a pro-Assad militia, have reportedly sustained scores of casualties in the last few weeks, especially in the north-western province of Idlib near Turkey and in the central region of Homs.
Read more on:    syria  |  uprisings

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.