Arab League to consider taking Syria plan to United Nations


An Arab ministerial committee proposed Saturday taking an Arab League plan to end the crisis in Syria to the UN Security Council, Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani said. Faced with Syrian “procrastination”, the bloc’s foreign ministers will meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the proposal, he said, a day after Russia proposed a surprise draft resolution to the council.
“As Russia has gone to the Security Council, a proposal will be presented in the (Arab ministers’) meeting on December 21 that the Arab League goes to the (UN) Security Council to present the Arab initiative,” the Qatari premier said. Speaking after a meeting of an Arab League taskforce on Syria, Sheikh Hamad said the move is aimed to “adopt the Arab decisions, instead of that of other countries.”
Sheikh Hamad, who is also the foreign minister of the Gulf state, accused Damascus of “procrastination” over the Arab proposal to send an observer mission intended to monitor the protection of civilians. “There is no hope to find an exit from this crisis. We have used all possible means, (but) it is clear that there is procrastination,” said the minister, who chairs an Arab League taskforce on the Syria crisis.
Earlier Arab League number two, Ahmed Ben Helli expressed hope that Syria would “soon” agree to the Arab proposal, citing “positive signs.” “There are positive signs… I expect the signing will happen soon,” Ben Helli said ahead of the Doha meeting. In a letter to the bloc’s secretary general, Nabil al-Arabi, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem set a number of terms, notably the lifting of sanctions.
Tunisia, meanwhile, is hosting a three-day meeting of Syrian opposition movements formed before and since the launch of the uprising. “The Arab League is killing us — enough deadlines,” Syrians protested on Friday, when more than 200,000 people protested in the besieged central city of Homs alone, venting their frustration at the Arab League.
Meanwhile, Baghdad announced that an Iraqi delegation was in Damascus for talks over a peace initiative and Tunisia was hosting a meeting of Syrian opposition groups.