PDA

View Full Version : Arab League votes to suspend Syria if it doesn't end violence against protesters



Parihaka
13 Nov 11,, 04:54
Arab League votes to suspend Syria if it doesn't end violence against protesters (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/12/syria-arab-league-bashar-assad?newsfeed=true)


President Bashar al-Assad given ultimatum to rein in his troops or face economic and political sanctions

reddit this
Comments (34)

Jack Shenker in Cairo and Peter Beaumont
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 12 November 2011 19.07 GMT
Article history

Syrian protestersin front of the Arab League headquarters in Cairo
Syrian protesters demonstrate in front of the Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo. Photograph: Amr Nabil/AP

Syria has been told it will be suspended from the Arab League – and faces the threat of sanctions in the Arab world – if it does not agree to end its bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters. The vote in Cairo took place after Syria had failed to abide by an agreement negotiated by the Arab League to end violence against its people, instead continuing with assaults on opposition centres.

The dramatic decision is a deep blow to a nation that has long prided itself on being a significant centre of Arab nationalism, but reflects the growing sense of anger in the Arab world towards President Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

Qatar's prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al Thani, said 18 countries had agreed to the suspension, which will take effect on Wednesday. Syria, Lebanon and Yemen voted against it, and Iraq abstained. The Arab League will also introduce political and economic sanctions against Syria.

A double line of police, many in riot gear, protected the entrance to the building on the fringes of Tahrir Square and tried to ensure there was no repeat of the scenes when a Syrian opposition delegation was pelted with eggs by protesters who accused them of being too conciliatory towards Assad.

As the discussion over Syria's membership of the Arab League took place, hundreds of Syrians gathered at the gates waving flags, banging drums and calling for international protection from a regime they say is massacring its own people.

By the side of the road canvas sacks stuffed with straw were laid out like body bags in a morgue, each one scrawled with the name of a different Arab nation undergoing its own political upheaval.

Demonstrators said that the mock corpses represented the thousands that have been killed across the region in the struggle for liberation, but many felt they also symbolised the death of the Arab League itself, which has struggled as an institution to reflect the grassroots explosion of expectations and change that has erupted throughout the Middle East this year.

As news filtered out of the decision, the rally rapidly mutated into a celebration as children were wrapped in Syrian headbands, singing broke out and passing cars honked their horns.

Mohamed Saidi, an electrical engineer, flew all the way from his job in Saudi Arabia to join the protests in Cairo. "If Arab unity still means anything, then it must mean something today," he said. "A message has to be sent, and that is, 'The killing stops, right now'. We must speak as one on this; everything else is secondary."

Violence has continued unabated since Syria agreed on 2 November to an Arab-brokered peace deal that called for Syria to halt violence against protesters, pull its tanks and armoured vehicles out of cities, release political prisoners and allow journalists and rights groups into the country. "Syria is a dear country for all of us and it pains us to make this decision," Bin Jassim said. "We hope there will be a brave move from Syria to stop the violence and begin a real dialogue toward real reform."

In a nod to concerns that the decision could pave the way to international intervention, as took place in Libya, Bin Jassim stressed that "no one is talking about a no-fly zone. People are trying to mix up the cases. None of us is talking about this kind of decision."

More than 250 Syrian civilians have been killed in the past 11 days as the regime continues to besiege the rebellious city of Homs. The UN estimates that in all some 3,500 people have been killed in the crackdown since the Syrian uprising began eight months ago, inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

The bloodshed has spiked dramatically in recent weeks amid signs that more protesters are taking up arms to protect themselves, changing the face of what has been a largely peaceful movement. Many fear that the change plays directly into the hands of the regime by giving the military a pretext to crack down with increasing force.

Although the crackdown has led to broad international isolation, Assad appears to have a firm grip on power. The government has largely sealed off the country from foreign journalists and prevented independent reporting, making it difficult to confirm events on the ground.

Key sources of information come from amateur videos posted online and details gathered by witnesses and activist groups that then contact the media, often at great personal risk.

Bigfella
13 Nov 11,, 05:11
Will wonders never cease?

bigross86
13 Nov 11,, 07:39
Will the Arab League "put boots on the ground" to enforce this, however?

Parihaka
13 Nov 11,, 08:25
Will wonders never cease?
My thoughts exactly. I suspect they see isolating Syria and therefore obliquely isolating Iran more as more advantageous than pissing off the west.

Parihaka
13 Nov 11,, 08:26
Will the Arab League "put boots on the ground" to enforce this, however?

No. They hire the US etc for their defence.

bigross86
13 Nov 11,, 11:14
So far this decision has been a great help, the Saudi and Qatari embassies have been attacked, as well as a French diplomatic mission in Latakia

tankie
13 Nov 11,, 11:47
Will the Arab League "put boots on the ground" to enforce this, however?

Beat me to it Ben , why use their recources when they can use ours with promises of loot at the end of the rainbow

snapper
13 Nov 11,, 15:13
Apparently they have even threatened to take it to the UN.

bigross86
13 Nov 11,, 15:41
Who's threatening to take what to the Unwanted Nobodies?

Parihaka
15 Nov 11,, 22:57
Syria crisis: Erdogan steps up Turkey pressure on Assad (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15745199)


Mr Erdogan has become increasingly critical of Syria in recent months Turkey has stepped up its pressure on neighbouring Syria over the crackdown on protests by the Damascus government.

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the future could not be built on "the blood of the oppressed", and condemned attacks on Turkish missions in Syria.

Meanwhile, Turkey's energy minister announced that joint oil exploration projects with Syria had been halted.

Damascus is also facing increasing pressure from the Arab League, which has suspended its membership.

On Monday, King Abdullah of Jordan became the first Arab leader to openly urge Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand down.

The UN says more than 3,500 people have died since the start of the protests against President Assad in March.

The Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs and militants.

In an apparent show of goodwill on Tuesday, the authorities freed 1,180 people who had been arrested during protests, Syrian state media reported. The state news agency said those released had no "blood on their hands".

The release of prisoners is among the demands of the Arab League, which is due to meet again on Wednesday.
Tragedy foretold

On Monday, Mr Erdogan - who once cultivated close ties with Syria - said Ankara had abandoned hope that Bashar al-Assad would respond to international demands to stop using violence.

"Bashar Assad should see the tragic ends of the ones who declared war against their own people," Mr Erdogan told MPs of his AK Party. "I want to remind him that future cannot be built on the blood of the oppressed."

History, Mr Erdogan added, would "will mark these leaders as the leaders who feed on blood".

Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz announced that Ankara had shelved plans for Turkey's TPAO petroleum company to explore oil with Syria's state oil company.

Mr Yildiz also threatened to stop Turkey's electricity exports to Syria.

"Right now, we are providing electricity" to Syria, Mr Yildiz said. "If [Syria] continues on this course, then we might have to reconsider these decisions."

The White House said it welcomed the "strong stance Turkey has taken".

"Turkey's comments today further point to the fact that President Assad is isolated," President Obama's deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters.

'Malicious' sidelining

The moves follow attacks on Turkish diplomatic missions in Damascus and the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Latakia by supporters of Mr Assad at the weekend.

AdvertisementThe attackers expressed anger at Turkey's decision to support the Arab League's decision to suspend Syria.

Turkey is not a member of the league, but its foreign minister is to meet his Arab League counterparts during Wednesday's meeting in Morocco.

The Syrian government condemned its suspension as "shameful and malicious", and accused other Arab countries of conspiring with the West to undermine the regime.

In his interview with the BBC on Monday, King Abdullah said that if he were in Mr Assad's position, he would make sure that "whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo".

He urged President Assad to begin talks on an orderly transfer of power.

The call came on one of the bloodiest days since the unrest began. Activists said at least 70 people were killed in fighting that reportedly included a gun battle between security forces and army defectors in the restive southern province of Deraa.

Many Western powers have urged President Assad to stand down. However Russia has so far refused to do so.

On Tuesday, Syrian opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun had talks with officials in Moscow but said he had failed to convince them to change their position.

Dreadnought
16 Nov 11,, 06:01
Turkey threatens to cut off power to Sryia....

Istanbul (CNN) -- Turkey threatened to cut off supplies of electricity to its neighbor Syria Tuesday, as the Damascus regime found itself under growing pressure from Arab, Turkish, European and North American governments for its ongoing lethal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

"We are supplying them (Syria) with electricity at the moment. If they stay on this course, we may be forced to re-examine all of these decisions," Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said Tuesday, according to Turkey's semi-official Anatolian Agency.

Turkey, once a close political ally and strong trading partner of Syria, welcomed a decision by the Arab League last weekend to suspend Syria's membership in the alliance.

Days after the humiliating rebuke, a senior Arab League official told CNN the group was floating a plan to try to send some 500 observers to protect civilians in Syria. According to the United Nations, more than 3,500 Syrians have been killed since anti-government protests first erupted in March.



"They are targeting innocent people"

Syria angry over Arab League suspension

Arab League imposes suspension on Syria

Fresh abuses reported in Syria "In a meeting headed by Dr. Nabil Al Araby, the secretary-general of the Arab League, held Monday, the Arab League and Arab human rights organizations decided on a mechanism to protect Syrian civilians which will involve sending a delegation of 500 representatives of Arab organizations, media organizations, and military observers to Syria with the objective of documenting the situation on the ground," the official said to CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official said the plan was to be presented at an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Morocco's capital Wednesday.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Juda confirmed to CNN that his government had received an invitation to contribute representatives to the proposed observer mission.

"We are studying it right now," Juda said in a phone call with CNN Tuesday. "It might be verified tomorrow," he added, at the expected Arab League foreign ministers' meeting in Rabat.

On Monday, Jordan's King Abdullah became the first Arab leader to publicly call for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down.

"If Bashar has the interests of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life," Abdullah said in an interview with the BBC.

Monday evening, a crowd of hundreds of Syrian regime supporters gathered for a protest outside the walls of the Jordanian embassy in Damascus.

Though several demonstrators tried to tear down the Jordanian flag, Juda said the protest was non-violent.

The scene was much different on Saturday. Hours after the Arab League suspended Syria's membership, pro-government mobs simultaneously attacked diplomatic missions of several Arab countries as well as Turkey in the Syrian cities in Damascus, Aleppo and Latakiya. Turkish media showed pictures of Syrian demonstrators tearing down a Turkish flag.

"You, Bashar, who has hundreds (of people) in jail, need to find those who attacked the Turkish flag and punish them," said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressing al-Assad. Until a few months ago, Erdogan typically referred to the Syrian president as his friend and brother. But in the wake of Saturday's embassy attacks, Turkey said it had no choice but to evacuate family members of its diplomats stationed in Syria.

"Bashar Assad should see the tragic end that meets leaders who declare war on their people," Erdogan added, speaking at a meeting of his party in the Turkish capital Tuesday. "Oppression does not create order and a future cannot be built on the blood of the innocent. History will remember such leaders as those who fed on blood. And you, Assad, are headed towards opening such a page."

Syria's foreign minister issued a rare public apology for the embassy attacks Monday at a press conference in Damascus.

But Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem also called the Arab League's decision to suspend Syria a "very dangerous step," according to the Syrian state news agency SANA. He accused the league of ignoring Syria's release of 553 detainees, as part of a peace deal that had been brokered earlier with the Arab League.

Hitting a familiar defiant note, al-Moallem swore that "Syria will remain -- despite what some of the brothers throw at it -- the heart of Arabism and its impenetrable bastion."

Since being suspended from the Arab League, Damascus has called for a special summit to discuss the matter. That initiative was rejected on Tuesday by Gulf Arab countries.

"Holding an Arab summit at present is pointless," said Abdul Latif Al-Zayani, the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council, according to the Kuwait News Agency.

As it finds itself on the defensive both at home and abroad, Damascus has increasingly leaned on its historical ally Russia, which recently joined China in vetoing a proposed United Nations Security Council resolution to punish Syria for alleged human rights violations against anti-government protesters.

Leaders of the opposition Syrian National Council met with Russian diplomats in Moscow Tuesday, in a bid to drive a wedge between the two allies. That initiative appeared to have failed, however.

Council Chairman Burhan Ghalioun later told journalists in Moscow the talks were "very positive," but added that the Russian government had not changed its position, according to the Interfax news agency.

Amid the rapidly escalating diplomatic war between Syria and its foreign opponents, the cycle of protests and violence inside Syria continued unabated.

At least four people were killed by security forces, including two children, said the opposition Local Coordination Committees. Meanwhile, Syria's state news agency reported that two law enforcement members were killed by "armed terrorists" in southern Syria on Monday. SANA also reported that train tracks were damaged by a series of bombs planted along a railroad in northern Syria on Monday.

Observers warn the protest movement in Syria, which struggled peacefully for months, is growing increasingly "weaponized" as more and more Syrian soldiers desert from the armed forces and join the opposition.

The latest military officer to announce his defection was a uniformed man who introduced himself in a YouTube video as a colonel and military attorney named Arafar Rasheed al-Hamoud.

"I announce my defection from the Syrian Arabic Army, after it was turned into a gang at the hand of the regime committing the most heinous crimes, killing women, children and elders and torturing unarmed citizens," Hamoud said, holding up his military identification card to the camera.

Several Syrian refugees told CNN they had met with Hamoud after he recently fled to one of a series of refugee camps on the Turkish side of the border with Syria.

Hamoud went on to announce he was joining the Free Syrian Army, a group of military defectors who have declared war on the Syrian regime.

On Monday, the opposition-aligned Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported 81 people were killed in clashes around the country, with many of the casualties occurring due to clashes between army defectors and Syrian security forces around the restive border city of Deraa. CNN cannot independently confirm these reports because the Syrian government has repeatedly rejected requests for journalist visas.

Meanwhile, the European Union slapped sanctions against 18 more Syrians accused of "organizing violence against demonstrators."

Most of the individuals named in a November 14 EU regulation were officers in military intelligence, as well as the head of a "family militia" and three members of the so-called "Syrian electronic army." All are now subject to an asset freeze in Europe for alleged "violence against protesters in Syria."

The move was applauded by Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European Parliament.

"The EU sanctions targeting members of the Syrian Electronic Army show that the use of ICT (information and communications technology) as weapons is taken seriously," Schaake wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "The Syrian Electronic Army is operating not only within Syria, but acts globally. The EU can and should do much more to hold its own companies, who are providing ICT 'weapons' to the Syrian Electronic Army and their collaborators, accountable."

Turkey threatens to cut electricity as Syria is more isolated - CNN.com (http://www.cnn.com/2011/11/15/world/meast/syria-isolation/index.html?eref=rss_world&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_world+%28RSS%3A+Wor ld%29)

Dreadnought
16 Nov 11,, 06:04
Iran has now offered to share nuclear power with Turkey over the wire tonight.

A sure sign the Iranians are trying to ease the pressure on Syria by Turkey.

As mentioned before IMO, If Assad's regime falls it will deal Iranian influence a major set back in the region and perhaps as well Hezbollah and Hamas suppliers.

One could only hope.;)

Dreadnought
16 Nov 11,, 06:16
Iran offers Turkey a hand to build a nuclear plant


NEW YORK — A senior Iranian official said on Tuesday that Tehran was willing to share its controversial nuclear technology with neighboring countries, suggesting it could help Turkey build a nuclear power plant.

Western countries suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons and, along with the U.N. Security Council, have imposed sanctions to try to stop the from country enriching uranium. But Tehran says its nuclear program is to generate electric power.

Referring to Iran’s nuclear technology, the official, Mohammad Javad Larijani, said, “We are quite ready to share it with our neighboring countries.”
“Turkey is for years trying to have a nuclear power plant but no country in the West is willing to build that for them,” Larijani told reporters.

Iran offers Turkey a hand to build a nuclear plant | News | National Post (http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/11/15/iran-offers-turkey-a-hand-to-build-a-nuclear-plant/)


Convienant, share with other countries (to save your ass) but dont share the information with the IAEA when called upon by Treaty.:rolleyes:

Parihaka
24 Nov 11,, 22:28
Arab League calls for UN help over Syria (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/8914051/Arab-League-calls-for-UN-help-over-Syria.html)


A meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo threated economic sanctions and took the unusual step of asking for the backing of Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations secretary general.

These decisions brought more pressure to bear on President Bashar al-Assad after the deaths of at least 3,500 people during a nine-month uprising against his rule.

The Arab League wants Mr Assad to admit 500 outside monitors who would document any human rights abuses and observe a ceasefire. A communiqué issued by the foreign ministers in Cairo said the task of this mission would be to "make sure Syrian security and pro-government militias do not attack peaceful demonstrations".

The observers would also "ensure that all armaments are withdrawn from cities and inhabited areas that have witnessed, or are witnessing protests".

Syria has denounced this proposal as an "impossible" violation of its national sovereignty. But the foreign ministers said that Syria must accept the monitors and imposed a clear deadline. Nabil al-Arabi, the Arab League secretary general, said that Syria should sign an agreement to admit them at 1pm today, Cairo time.

If Mr Assad does not agree, the economic and social council of the Arab League will meet on Saturday to consider imposing sanctions on Syria. Whether there would be sufficient consensus to introduce these measures remains unclear. Lebanon, where Syria retains significant influence, has publicly opposed sanctions.

The Arab League, traditionally reluctant to involve the UN in the affairs of its 22 member states, also turned to Mr Ban, asking the secretary general "to take all measures to support the efforts of the Arab League to resolve the critical situation in Syria". As the leader of the UN administrative structure, Mr Ban would be able to provide logistical backing for any observer mission.

Syria has never enjoyed many allies in the Arab League. But the organisation has lost any remaining patience with Mr Assad after he reneged on an earlier agreement to order a ceasefire and withdraw his security forces from Syria's cities.

A nascent guerrilla force, styling itself the Free Syrian Army, is now operating inside the country. Its commander, Riyadh al-Asaad, yesterday called for outside powers to launch air strikes against "strategic targets" in Syria. This would replicate the armed intervention in Libya, notably by Britain and France, which helped the country's rebels to overthrow Col Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

"We are not in favour of the entry of foreign troops as was the case in Iraq, but we want the international community to give us logistical support," said Mr Asaad. "We also want international protection, the establishment of a no-fly zone, a buffer zone and strikes on certain strategic targets considered as crucial by the regime."

However, Syria still enjoys diplomatic protection from China and Russia, who could veto any attempt to win UN Security Council backing for air strikes or sanctions.

France has floated a proposal that would amount to direct intervention in Syria. Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, said that convoys carrying humanitarian aid should be sent to areas most affected by the fighting. If necessary, Mr Juppe said this should happen without Mr Assad's consent.

"There are two possible ways: That the international community, Arab League and the United Nations can get the regime to allow these humanitarian corridors," he told French radio. "But if that isn't the case we'd have to look at other solutions." Mr Juppe added there was "no question of military intervention in Syria".

The diplomatic manoeuvring coincided with the release of new evidence of abuses carried out by Syrian security forces. Five children were killed by the security forces on Tuesday, including a six-year-old boy, bringing the total number of children killed during the protests to more than 330.

"How can they exploit children? The conflict has nothing to do with children," said Mousab Azzawi, a consultant pathologist who volunteers for the Syrian Observatory on Human Rights, a London-based group that compiles reports of violence through a network of reporters inside the country.

"It is one reason key players in the regime need to be referred to the International Criminal Court," added Mr Azzawi. "They need to know their expiry date has arrived."

This'll put the Russians in an uncomfortable position

Mihais
24 Nov 11,, 22:45
This'll put the Russians in an uncomfortable position

Not so sure about it.Whatever the Arab league decides it's their bussiness,that may carry weight in the UN or not.

Parihaka
25 Nov 11,, 00:10
Not so sure about it.Whatever the Arab league decides it's their bussiness,that may carry weight in the UN or not.

The Arab League carries a lot of weight, hence all the Israel resolutions. If it does gain momentum it'll be interesting to see Russia's reaction, they're not accustomed to being on opposite sides to the AL.

Bigfella
25 Nov 11,, 01:06
Every day seems to bring worse news for Assad. Shooting up a bus full of Turkish Haj pilgrims is just making things worse. He is very lucky on one was killed. I'm just wondering how long it will be before Turkey uses its military to create a 'safe haven' along parts of the Northern border. If Assad can't re-establish control in fairly short order (and I see no reason why he can) then he is done. Indeed, I can't help thinking that he may already have passed the point where he can salvage himself. When the AL starts callinf in the UN you just know shit be bad. The question now is how many lives are going to be lost before this all reaches its conclusion & what the aftermath is going to look like. I see a lot of ugly & downside & not very much upside here.



Syria activists say 12 die, Turks injured


November 22, 2011 .


AFP

Turkey has turned up the heat on embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as activists say at least 12 people were killed in raids by security forces.

The latest violence came as two people were reported wounded when buses carrying Turkish pilgrims on their way home from Mecca came under gunfire near the flashpoint city of Homs in central Syria.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Assad his days were numbered and that he could not stay in power indefinitely through the use of military power.

And in a signal of support for groups seeking to oust Assad, British Foreign Secretary William Hague met representatives of Syria's opposition for the first time, although he said it was too early for London to formally recognise them.

Russia for its part accused the West of provocative behaviour in the Syrian crisis, saying Western countries were telling the opposition to forget dialogue with the embattled president.

The two people were wounded when "Syrian soldiers" attacked the Turks travelling by bus back from the Muslim haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia after taking a wrong turn near Homs, said the private CNN-Turk television station.

"We confirm that an attack took place in Syria," a Turkish foreign ministry official told AFP, without elaborating.

In the latest confrontations, at least 12 Syrians were shot dead in raids by security forces in the provinces of Homs and Hama, also in central Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The state news agency SANA said four "terrorists" were killed, including a suspect high on a wanted list, while also reporting that two judges were kidnapped in Hama.

Stepping up the pressure on one-time ally Assad, Erdogan said: "You can remain in power with tanks and cannon only up to a certain point. The day will come when you'll also leave.

"Someone shows up and says 'I'll fight and die.' Against whom will you fight? Will you fight against your Muslim brothers you rule in your country?"

The Turkish premier was referring to an interview with Assad published in London's Sunday Times in which the Syrian leader vowed to fight and die for his country if faced with foreign intervention.

American ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who was abruptly withdrawn in October due to security threats, has delayed his return to Damascus until later in the year, the US State Department said on Monday.

"We do still intend for him to go back," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in Washington.

Ford had assumed a high profile in Syria, visiting the focal points of protests to show US support for democratic change.

The latest bloodshed in Syria came a day after Foreign Minister Walid Muallem brushed off the threat of civil war and looming Arab League sanctions.

Despite the threatened sanctions, Syria let pass a deadline at midnight on Saturday to halt what the Arab League has called its "bloody repression" by pulling its troops from the street and engaging in talks with the opposition.

The Saudi government on Monday pressed Assad to conform "fully" with the Arab League proposals.

In a statement carried by state news agency SPA, Riyadh underlined "the importance of ensuring the protection of Syrian civilians and stopping the killings and acts of violence".

The 22-member Arab bloc said its foreign ministers would hold crisis talks on Syria in Cairo on Thursday, after rejecting changes proposed by Damascus to its proposal to send an observer mission to the country.

The Arab League plan came in for criticism on Monday from Russia, a long-time ally of the Syrian regime.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov complained that although the Arab League had called for a halt to violence, Western capitals had been telling the opposition to refrain from dialogue with Assad.

In London, Britain's top diplomat said after meeting members of Syria's opposition that he had appointed an "ambassador-designate to conduct relations with them".

But Hague added that Britain was not yet ready to formally recognise the opposition because they lacked complete unity, were not in control of any territory, and "the international community has not yet reached that point".

Hague said after the talks he had reiterated that Britain wanted Assad and his regime to stand down, saying it would be "the best thing for the future of Syria".

"But I've also emphasised the importance to them of achieving a united platform and a unified body among the opposition."

Leading opposition group the Syrian National Council in a statement on Monday said the SNC would organise, in tandem with the Arab League, a national conference to prepare for the transitional period in Syria.

© 2011 AFP




Syria activists say 12 die, Turks injured (http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/syria-activists-say-12-die-turks-injured-20111122-1nrbm.html)