Arab League gives Syria two weeks to stop attacks on protesters

Cairo, Egypt (PANA) - The Cairo-based Arab League has agreed to form a committee, led by Qatar, to oversee the situation in war-torn Syria, while giving the embattled country two weeks to stop its attacks on protesters.

At a meeting on Sunday, the Arab League also offered to hold a national dialogue between Syrian officials and the opposition at the League's headquarters within two weeks.

Arab Gulf countries seeking the suspension of Syria's membership of the League over its bloody crackdown on protesters however failed to gain enough support to push the measure through, reflecting divisions among the body's 22 nations.

On Sunday, there was no mention of a possible suspension of Syria as had been expected.

The proposed national dialogue is to include members of the opposition from outside Syria as well as inside.

If the meeting and the cease-fire do not take place within the allotted time frame, the Arab League said it would meet again in an emergency session, where the option of suspending Syria from the League would be discussed.

Suspending Syria's membership requires the support of at least two-thirds of the League's members.

A bloc of six Arab Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, was leading the push for the measure along with recognition of the opposition leadership, the Syrian National Council.

Many Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, have already withdrawn their ambassadors from Syria to protest the regime's bloody response to the protests.

The UN says more than 3,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his regime began in mid-March.

Bashar inherited power from his late father, Hafez, some 11 years ago and the two have ruled Syria for over 40 years.  

During the Cairo meeting on Sunday, about 2,000 anti-Assad protesters rallied outside the Arab League building, near Cairo's Tahrir Square, the centre of Egypt's 25 January revolution.
-0- PANA MI/SEG 17Oct2011

17 october 2011 15:06:46

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