Arab League Reuters 311.
(photo credit: Reuters/ Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
CAIRO - The Arab League said on Wednesday the Syrian government had approved an Arab plan for dialogue with the opposition and steps to end seven months of bloodshed, according to a League statement released during a ministerial meeting in Cairo.
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Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told a news conferrence after a ministerial meeting in Cairo: "We are happy to have reached this agreement and we will be even happier when it is implemented immediately."
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He read a statement saying Syria had a agreed on points including a complete halt to violence, the release of prisoners, removing the military presence from cities and residential areas and allowing the Arab League and media access to report on the situation.
The Qatari minister said the Arab League would continue contacts between the Syrian government and the opposition "in preparation for a national dialogue within two weeks."
"The Arab League welcomes the Syrian government's agreement to the Arab
plan," the statement said, adding that it "emphasized the need for the
immediate, full and exact implementation of the articles in the plan."
Arab committee (overseeing the plan) is responsible for submitting
periodic reports to the ministerial council of the Arab League on the
progress of carrying out the plan," it said.
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Assad has deployed
his army and security forces to crush protests inspired by uprisings
elsewhere in the Arab world. He has said they are battling Islamist
militants and armed gangs.
The United Nations says 3,000 people have been killed in the bloodshed.
Gulf state League delegate said disagreement remained over the
monitoring mechanism, the venue for a dialogue -- whether Cairo or
Damascus -- and the participation of foreign-based Syrian dissidents.
Syrian newspaper Al Watan carried a similar report.
has said he wants dialogue. His opponents say the killing must stop
first. Analysts question whether the Syrian leader would be ready to
halt military action against protesters and armed opponents of his
Activists said on Wednesday at least 11 villagers were killed by security forces in and around Homs in central Syria.
an apparent response to the killing of the villagers, Syrian army
deserters killed seven soldiers and eight members of the security forces
and gunmen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, an activist group said.
British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebel
soldiers killed the soldiers in a bomb attack on a military convoy in
Hama province. It said they also killed eight members of the security
forces and pro-Assad gunmen in a separate attack.
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