'Arab League plan violates Syria's sovereignty'

Syrian FM Mouallem says proposed plan to send observers into Syria "ignores the role of the Syrian state."; League to meet.

November 20, 2011 16:49
1 minute read.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem 311 (R). (photo credit: Ho New / Reuters)

An Arab League plan to send a monitoring mission to Syria compromises the country's sovereignty but Damascus has not rejected the mission, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem said on Sunday.

Mouallem told reporters in the Syrian capital that the proposed mission has "pervasive jurisdiction that reaches the level of violating Syrian sovereignty" and said he would send the Arab League a letter with questions about its role.

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"We will reply to the Arab League secretary general by responsibly presenting a number of queries," Mouallem said.

"The protocol is three pages that completely ignores the role of the Syrian state. On one hand the Syrian state is responsible for the security of this mission and on the other hand they ignore even coordinating with it," he added.

The League had previously given Syria three days from Nov. 16 to abide by a deal to withdraw its forces from restive cities, start talks with the opposition and pave the way for a League observer team.

Arab League foreign ministers will meet on Thursday to discuss Syria, after it failed to heed the deadline, Egypt's state news agency MENA reported.

It quoted an official at the Cairo-based body saying the committee handling the Syrian file, which includes Egypt, Sudan, Algeria and Qatar, would meet a day earlier to prepare for the ministerial meeting.

Syrian President Bashar Assad was quoted on Saturday as saying he would press on with the crackdown against protesters despite increased international pressure to end it.

"The conflict will continue and the pressure to subjugate Syria will continue," he told Britain's Sunday Times newspaper. "However, I assure you that Syria will not bow down and that it will continue to resist the pressure being imposed on it."

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