UNITED NATIONS - Algeria's foreign minister said on Wednesday Syria's government had taken steps to defuse the crisis in the country and that it was the taking up of arms by the opposition that threatened wider violence.
The comments by Mourad Medelci at a UN news conference highlighted differences among Arab states over the 10-month-old anti-government uprising in Syria, which an Arab League monitoring mission is currently investigating.
"The government has taken some steps. Perhaps not enough, but some steps in the sense that there has been a withdrawal of heavy weapons from the cities that are having problems now," Medelci said.
"There has been a release of a few thousand prisoners, but there are many more not yet released. And there has been an opening up of the media. Although this opening is not complete, it is real."