Former Assad deputy calls on Syrian president to abdicate

Syrian Opposition rejects Arab League call for dialogue; hard to believe any Syrian would let Assad to stay in power, ex-deputy says.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
October 17, 2011 17:27
1 minute read.
Syrian President Bashar Assad praying

Assad praying 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The Syrian opposition on Monday rejected a proposal by the Arab League to start a dialogue between the government of Bashar Assad and the Opposition, Israel Radio reported.

Abdel Helim Khadam, a leader of the anti-Assad movement and former deputy of the Syrian president, said in an interview on the American Radio station "Savannah" that after killing thousands of Syrians, injuring many and imprisoning tens of thousands, it is hard to believe that someone in the Syrian nation would agree to let Assad stay in power, according to the report.

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On Sunday, Arab foreign ministers stopped short of suspending Syria from the Arab League over its military crackdown on dissent, instead urging the government and opposition to negotiate an end to the violence.

"We will call all of the parties of the opposition and government to hold a dialogue within 15 days," the League's Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said after the meeting. It should be held at Arab League headquarters and a Syria-based committee would be set up to work to end violence.

Disappointed protesters began banging on the doors of the Arab League building as Qatar's Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani read out the decision.

"The people demand the suspension of Syria's membership at the Arab League!" the protesters chanted.

Initial reaction from Syria was also negative.

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"Syria has reservations on the call by the League for a comprehensive dialogue to take place at its headquarters and says it is capable of running its own affairs and security," Syrian state television said.

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