Qatar PM, talks to Arab League Secretary-General (R) 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer )
RIYADH - Qatar said on Sunday it had information Syrian President Bashar Assad would finally sign an Arab peace plan aimed at ending his crackdown on anti-government protests, after weeks of stalling.
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The Arab League has suspended Syria and imposed sanctions over Assad's refusal to accept its peace plan, which calls on Damascus to end bloodshed, free prisoners, start dialogue with the opposition and allow peace monitors into the country.
Damascus has not rejected the plan outright, but has stalled for weeks, saying that the request it allow monitors could violate its sovereignty.
Arab foreign ministers meet in Egypt on Wednesday and could decide to
put the plan before the United Nations Security Council, making it the
basis for a wider international effort to force Assad to end violence.
"We have information that indicates that he (Assad) will sign the
initiative. If this is true or not true we'll see," Qatar's Foreign
Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, told journalists on the
sidelines of a meeting in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
Hamad is the head of an Arab League ministerial committee dealing with
Syria, which has recommended that the League discuss putting its plan to
Security Council. His remarks were carried by al-Arabiya television.
The United Nations says 5,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed
in 10 months of unrest in Syria. Assad says his forces are fighting
insurgents backed by foreign powers and that most of those killed were
members of the security forces.
Earlier on Sunday, Omani Foreign Minister Youssef bin Alawi bin Abdullah
said he was optimistic Syria would sign the Arab peace plan before
Wednesday's Arab League meeting.
"We are optimistic that Syria will join the Arab League in signing the
protocol, which is ready now, within 24 hours," Abdullah said in Riyadh.
"That is what we hope for. If not, the Arab League foreign ministers
will meet on Wednesday to consider measures that might be taken in the
future," he added.