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AL urgent meeting
AL urgent meeting

Arab League urges Syria 'dialogue' before Nov. 1

(DP-News - agencies)

CAIRO- Arab League foreign ministers, meeting in an urgent session in Cairo on Sunday, urged “National Dialogue” between Syria’s regime and the opposition at AL headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo within 15 days.

Arab League foreign ministers meeting in an urgent session in Cairo on Sunday urged "national dialogue" between Syria's government and the opposition in the Egyptian capital within 15 days. The pan-Arab body decided to make contact with the Damascus government and a raft of opposition groups with the aim of launching "national dialogue within the seat of the Arab League and under its guidance within 15 days," a statement issued by Qatar foreign minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani said.



The pan-Arab body decided to make contact with the Damascus government and a raft of opposition groups with the aim of launching “national dialogue within the seat of the Arab League and under its guidance within 15 days”, a statement issued by Qatari PM & FM Sheikh Hamad, who presided over the session, said on Sunday late evening.

Arab League secretary general Nabil al-Arabi, in his address, stressed the group’s keenness on Syria’s stability and security, describing the situation in the country as “grave”.
“The situation in Syria is very grave and requires immediate halt to killings and violence,” al-Arabi said, while calling on Arab countries to help Syria get out of the crisis.
The League was working to launch a “comprehensive dialogue” between the conflicting parties in Syria in a new bid to end the crisis, he said.

"We cannot remain silent on the violence," Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said in an opening address.

For his part, Syria's delegate to the Cairo-based organization Yussef Ahmad insisted the situation was returning to "calm and stability" and raised questions over the timing of the meeting.

"The timing is strange and suspect," Ahmad said, linking the talks to US and European attempts to pass a UN Security Council resolution against the Syrian leadership.

Syria's Ambassador to AL said his country's government will respond positively and openly to "sincere and effective" Arab efforts to end the crisis.

Ambassador Ahmad said “Security in Syria leaning towards calm and stability, helping to push forward with laws and decrees to bolster liberties and reforms.”

Ahmad added that the Syrian government would propose an initiative to reinforce democracy, reform and human rights. It was the most sweeping pledge by a Syrian official during more than seven months of anti-government demonstrations. The government has yet to implement the changes.

He pointed out that the weapons found with terrorists included Israeli hand grenades and machineguns, and that these weapons were used by the armed opposition to kill the Syrian people, yet not a single Arab figure expressed condemnation of these acts.

He added "We, in Syria, thought that the criminal acts of these armed groups must elicit balanced reactions from Arabs and that they would condemn targeting the army, the public and private properties, and the civilian lives or at least the attacks perpetrated against the Syrian embassies, the last of which was the attack on the Syrian Embassy in Cairo yesterday, but regretfully the persons behind this criminal act are connected financially and logistically with sides in Arab states which we won't name for now."

Ambassador Ahmad stressed that the Arab indifference towards the acts of violence committed by armed terrorist groups reflects a grave fact that the concepts of Arab common actions and some Arab policies are now governed by rules and considerations other than Arab common interest.

"In this context, we don't think that the Arab League's mission is limited to issuing a negative and ineffective statement that doesn't pose a true vision reflecting honest Arab will to preserve Syria's security and stability, help it emerge from this crisis, confront attempts at foreign interference in its internal affairs, and encouraging all sides to engage in constructive national dialogue," he said.

Syria`s Ambassador at AL added that these channels continue to fabricate fake stories about dead people who are actually still alive and adopt any story even if it's supported by a blurry composite 10-second video or unknown ghosts labeled as "eye witnesses" or "juridical activist" in order to weave lies about massacres committed by the army and security forces and besieging cities and towns, all of which aims at demonizing the authority in Syria at any cost with their ultimate goal being summoning any form of foreign interference in Syrian affairs.

"Naturally, this includes the cheap performance of channels broadcasting from Arab capitals and financed by sources which I believe are known to us and to all of you, wearing falsely the mantle of Islam and employing men claiming to possess knowledge and forgot the teachings of God that state that sedition is more grave than murder," the Ambassador said, adding that these channels still attempt to sow discord and hatred among Syrians and sic Muslims against each other, affirming that Syria has a detailed and documented record of these channels' performance and those who finance and support.

He pointed out to the strange and suspicious date for holding this meeting, hoping that it isn't in any way related to the failure of the US-European movement against Syria in the Security Council, adding that Syria will remain positive and open to any honest and effective Arab effort aiming at resolving the crisis without foreign interference.

Ambassador Ahmad added "In this context, we officially resubmit the Syrian initiative concerning enhancing the issues of democracy, reforms and human rights in the Arab states… it includes issuing a resolution by the Arab League that contains a comprehensive Arab vision regarding democracy and reforms in the Arab states and benefiting from the expertise of all countries in the fields of freedom, democracy, human rights, party pluralism, ensuring the right to express and law of protests.

"We, in Syria, will continue the reform program announced by President Bashar al-Assad… we'll continue meeting the public demands of our people, protecting their lives and properties, and defending Syria's security and stability. We assure that we will not allow terrorism and extremism to undermine the independence of our national stances. We reiterate our appreciation for the stances of the friendly countries that realized the plot targeting Syria and rejected all forms of foreign intervention in the Syrian internal affairs.

"We call on the Arab League to follow the example of Russia and China in confronting the US-European efforts aiming at making the Security Council a tool for interfering in countries' internal affairs and making the Arab League a tool for the US-Western agendas." Ambassador Ahmad concluded.

Replying to a speech given by the Syrian envoy to the League, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim, the chair of the meeting, said the gathering was not convened “under any agenda but to show concern for Syria and the Syrian people. Your brothers want to help”.

While Arab FMs meet at AL in Cairo, Anti-Syrian demonstrators gathered outside Arab League headquarters in hopes that the group will move against Damascus. Most of the League's Persian Gulf members have already restricted diplomatic ties with Syria, recalling their ambassadors over the violence that the United Nations estimates has claimed more than 3,000 lives.

Before the opening of the talks at the Cairo-based League, several ministers met informally at a hotel with the AL's secretary general, Nabil al-Arabi.

One diplomat who took part told AFP that the participants were divided on the means to halt the bloodshed since anti-regime protests broke out in mid-March.

Syria's possible suspension and the recognition of an opposition Syrian National Council were raised "but the majority believed it necessary to give a chance" for al-Arabi to encourage the implementation of rapid reforms, the diplomat told AFP.

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