Arab League to ask UNSC to back Syria peace plan

Gulf states to withdraw monitors from mission; Syria says it will will hold constitutional referendum in a week.

January 24, 2012 14:53
2 minute read.
Syria's empty seat at the Arab League

Syria's empty seat at the Arab League 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem)

The head of the Arab League has asked to meet the United Nations secretary-general to seek the UN Security Council's support for its latest plan to resolve the crisis in Syria, the League said in a statement on Tuesday.

It said Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who heads the League's committee on Syria, sent a joint letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon giving details of the plan for a political solution to end the violence.

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The letter asks for a "joint meeting between them in the UN headquarters to inform the Security Council about developments and obtain the support of the Council for this plan," the statement added.

Earlier Tuesday, the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said it had decided to follow Saudi Arabia's lead and withdraw its monitors from the monitoring mission in Syria.

The League had urged Syrian President Bashar Assad on Sunday to step down over his bloody crackdown on a 10-month-old revolt, in which thousands of Syrians have been killed. Saudi Arabia had already withdrawn its monitors, and called for "all possible pressure" to be placed on Damascus.

"The GCC states have decided to respond to the decision of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to withdraw its monitors from the Arab League delegation to Syria," the GCC said in a statement.

It said the GCC was "certain the bloodshed and killing of innocents would continue, and that the Syrian regime would not abide by the Arab League's resolutions."

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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem said that taking the plan to the United Nations was a new stage in the League's moves against the country.

"I believe that this new stage of their planning against Syria is a call for internationalizing (the Syria issue)," he told a news conference.

Mouallem also said that Syria would hold a referendum on a new constitution soon as part of reforms promised by Assad. "The new Syrian constitution will be put to a referendum within a week or more."

But he also warned that Russia would not accept any foreign intervention in its old ally. "Our relations with Russia are deep-rooted," he told a news conference in Damascus. "That is a red line."

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