Arab League chief heads to UN over Syria

CAIRO - Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby headed to New York on Sunday seeking to win support from the UN Security Council for a plan to end violence in Syria by asking President Bashar  Assad to step aside.
Elaraby will brief the Security Council on Tuesday but the Arab initiative, which is backed by Western states, is facing resistance from Russia and China, two of the five permanent members of the council with veto powers.
Elaraby, the league's secretary-general, will be joined in New York by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, whose country heads the league's committee charged with following Syrian developments. Qatar and fellow Gulf Arab state Saudi Arabia have been leading efforts to put pressure on Assad.
"We will hold several meetings with representatives from members of the Security Council to obtain the council's support and agreement to the Arab initiative," Elaraby told reporters at Cairo airport shortly before leaving for New York.