Syria Not to Accept Arab League Initiative
Damascus, March 28 (Xinhua-RHC) Syria's foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday that his country will not deal with any initiative from the Arab League (AL), after the 22-member pan- Arab body suspended Syria's membership in November last year.
"Some talks have emerged that the conferees in Baghdad are discussing an initiative for Syria today, and in response we say that since Syria's membership has been suspended, we are not going to deal with any initiative from the Arab League," Jihad Makdissi said in a statement sent to Xinhua on Wednesday.
The AL suspended Syria's membership in November last year after the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad failed to end its alleged crackdown. Arab foreign ministers began a meeting on Wednesday in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad ahead of the AL summit slated for March 29. A day earlier, Assad's government accepted the proposals of UN-AL special envoy Kofi Annan to end the crisis in Syria. The plan includes commitments to ending violence, allowing humanitarian assistance and protests. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Syria's acceptance an "important initial step," but said what matters now is action, urging the Syrian government and the opposition to take steps in the coming days to end the bloodshed.
The United Nations said Tuesday that the number of people who have been killed in Syria's violence since the unrest began in March last year has risen to more than 9,000. The Syrian government accuses Takfiri terrorists of being behind the unrest in Syria. It said more than 2,500 army and security personnel have been killed during the year long crisis.