Arab League, Assad agree on measures to end violence

Elaraby says he focused on "importance of an open national dialogue," during visit to Syria; 6 more protesters killed by regime forces.

Assad speaking 311 (photo credit: Screenshot)
Assad speaking 311
(photo credit: Screenshot)
BEIRUT - Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said he had agreed a series of measures with President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday to help end violence in Syria, as activists said Assad's forces killed six people in their relentless crackdown on dissent.
After talks in Damascus with Assad, Elaraby said he would present the proposed measures to Arab foreign ministers who are due to discuss Syria's five-month uprising against the Syrian president and his military assault on protesters.
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"I focused on the importance of an open national dialogue that encompasses all personalities on the basis of national reconciliation, in which the Arab League plays a main role," Elaraby told journalists on his return to Egypt from Syria. He did not give details.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five people had been killed in the Bab Amro district of Homs during a sweep by troops and security forces, shortly before the Arab League secretary-general held talks with Assad.
A 45-year-old man was shot dead by security forces at a checkpoint in the northern province of Idlib, it added.
Assad has responded to the wave of street protests, inspired by Arab uprisings that have overthrown three North African leaders, with a mix of repression and promises of reform that protesters have dismissed as too little too late.
"I asserted to President Assad that the starting point is the need for reforms to emerge from the current crisis which Syria is passing through," Elaraby said.
Foreign ministers of the 22-member Arab League told Syria two weeks ago to work to end the violence "and resort to reason before it's too late". They will meet again to discuss Syria on Sept. 13.
The Cairo-based organization has been under pressure to speak out more openly following the uprisings that ousted leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and led to the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi -- achieved with NATO air intervention endorsed by the Arab League.