The Arab League yesterday decided to suspend Syria from its membership with effect from November 16 and threatened that if the violence against innocent civilians does not stop it would be forced to contact concerned international organizations to mull appropriate action.
The Council of Foreign Ministers of the Arab League which met in Cairo last evening is scheduled to meet again on November 16 and take a decision regarding on what suggestions international organisations make to end the violence against innocent Syrian civilians.
Syria’s suspension would mean economic and political sanctions to be imposed by member-states of the Arab League. The League has also summoned members of the Syrian opposition to its headquarters for a meeting within three days to agree to a unified agenda.
Among the global bodies to be contacted by the Arab League if Damascus failed to stop bloodshed are the United Nations and global human rights watchdogs, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
The Cairo meet of the Arab League Council was chaired by Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, who heads the Council.
Syria will continue to be suspended until it completely fulfills its commitments to an Arab Plan it agreed to earlier to end the crisis brewing in the country.
The Arab League Ministerial Council had on November 2 unanimously drafted a Plan for Syria to end violence and remove the army from cities, QNA said.
Aljazeera.net, meanwhile, said that the decision to suspend Syria from the Arab League should be taken to mean that the time for an ‘Arab solution’ to the Syrian imbroglio that began in the middle of March this year, has ended.
The decision to suspend Syria, to which the country has strongly objected, was taken at an extraordinary meeting of the Arab League Ministerial Council in Cairo last evening.
Syria has dubbed the decision as the one taken ‘on the orders of Washington’. Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem read out a statement at the meet underlining the need to protect the people of Syria and take up the Syrian issue with Arab organizations.
In case the ‘acts of violence and murder’ are not halted with immediate effect, the statement said, the Arab League Secretary-General, in consultation with the Syrian opposition, shall make contact with concerned international organizations concerned with human rights, including the United Nations, to mull appropriate steps to stop the bloodshed and present the proposals to Arab League’s Ministerial Council which would meet on November 16, the statement said.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem said that the Arab Council has called on the Syrian army not to engage in acts of violence and murder against civilians.
The Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria was backed by 18 members and opposed by three member-states Syria, Lebanon and Yemen while Iraq abstained, QNA said.
Addressing a press conference with Nabil Al Arabi, secretary-general of the Arab League, the Qatari PM said in reply to a question that the possibility of enforcing a no-fly zone in Syria was ruled out and said the issue was not discussed at the Council meet.
He also said that the issue of referring some Syrian officials to the International Court of Justice was also not taken up at the meet.
He said that Arab countries want Syrian protesters to gain their rights peacefully, especially as Syria is an important front in facing Israel.
“We expect Syria to fully implement the Arab Plan and end violence,” Al Arabi was quoted by QNA as saying
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