Arab League 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
RABAT - Arab League foreign ministers on Wednesday gave Syria's
government three days to agree to end its crackdown on protesters and
allow in teams of observers.
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The foreign ministers, meeting in the Moroccan capital, did not say what would happen if Damascus failed to comply.
if the proposal was a last-ditch attempt at diplomacy, Qatari Foreign
Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim al-Thani told reporters: "We do not
want to talk about a last-ditch attempt because I do not want this to
sound like a warning."
"What I can say is that we are close to
the end of the road as far as the (Arab League's) efforts on this front
are concerned," he said.
Speaking at the same meeting, Arab League Secretary General Nabil
Elaraby said the time was not right to hold an Arab League summit on
A communique issued at the conclusion of the foreign ministers' meeting
in Rabat said: "Observers are to be sent into Syria if the Syrian
government signs the agreement within three days starting today and once
the violence and the killing stop."
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"The observers will make sure Syrian security and pro-government
militias do not attack peaceful demonstrations ... (and) will ensure
that all armaments are withdrawn from cities and inhabited areas that
have witnessed, or are witnessing protests," the communique said.
France recalled its ambassador to Damascus as Syria's suspension from
the Arab League took effect, intensifying diplomatic
pressure on President Bashar Assad to halt a violent eight-month-old
crackdown on protests.
Syrian army defectors attacked an intelligence complex
on the edge of
Damascus in a high-profile assault that showed how close the popular
uprising is to sliding into armed conflict.
Hours after the Arab League suspension took effect, Assad supporters
threw stones and debris at the embassy of the United Arab Emirates and
smeared its walls with graffiti, witnesses said. The embassy is in one
of the most secure districts of the capital, near Assad's home and
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said France was working with the Arab League on a draft resolution at the United Nations.
Last month Russia and China vetoed a Security Council resolution that
would have condemned Damascus, but since then the normally cautious Arab
League has suspended Syria for failing to implement an Arab peace plan.
"New violence is taking place and that has led to the closure of the
missions in Aleppo and Latakia and to recall our ambassador to Paris,"
Juppe said, referring to weekend attacks by pro-Assad demonstrators on
French diplomatic premises, as well as Turkish and Saudi missions, in
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