Arab League meets Assad foes on Syria's future

November 15, 2011 14:01


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CAIRO - The Arab League has asked Syrian opposition groups to submit their vision for a transition of power ahead of a bigger conference on Syria's future, a League official and a member of the opposition said on Tuesday.

The League agreed on Saturday to start talks with Syrian dissidents after a majority of its 22 members voted to suspend Syria's membership of the pan-Arab body from Wednesday over its violent response to protests against Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Cairo-based organization acted after Damascus failed to implement an Arab initiative that sought to stop the bloodshed and start dialogue between the government and opposition.

Arab and Western nations have increased Syria's isolation, although Russia still backs Damascus, saying the League had made the wrong move and accusing the West of inciting Assad's foes..

Despite the diplomatic pressure, there has been let-up in violence. Activists said on Tuesday at least 69 people were killed in southern Syria the previous day, most in clashes between loyalist troops and army deserters.

The United Nations says more than 3,500 people have been killed in the eight-month-old crackdown.

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