Arab chief seeks Russian, Chinese change on Syria

Arab chief seeks Russian, Chinese change on Syria

CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
Arab chief seeks Russian, Chinese change on Syria

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi. REUTERS photo

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said on Sunday he hopes Russia and China will change their stance on Syria and allow the UN Security Council to issue a resolution backing a League plan to end the crisis.

"I hope these two countries will alter their position concerning the draft UN Security Council resolution which would adopt the Arab plan," Arabi said before leaving Cairo for the United Nations in New York.

"Contacts are under way" between the Arab League "and Russia and China on the situation in Syria," Arabi added, in remarks reported by Egypt's official MENA news agency.

He said the League's decision to suspend its monitoring mission on the ground had been taken "because of a significant deterioration of the situation in Syria to ensure the security of the observers." Arabi on Saturday said the League was pulling out its observer mission which had been on the ground for just over a month "after the Syrian government chose the option of escalation, which increased the number of victims." The opposition Syrian National Council has called for protests outside Russian diplomatic missions against Moscow opposing a draft European-Arab UN resolution on the crisis that backs the League plan calling on President Bashar al-Assad to quit.

SNC chief Burhan Ghaliun was also travelling to New York on Sunday "to present the Syrian case... and demand protection." European and Arab nations pushing the new resolution are reported to be reworking the draft after the withdrawal of the League monitoring mission.

The text, backed by Britain, France, Germany and Arab Security Council member Morocco, calls on the international community to back the Arab League plan to end the crisis.

The League plan looks to a halt in the violence and Assad transferring power to his deputy ahead of negotiations.

Moscow opposes the draft resolution, and has proposed its own draft assigning equal blame for the violence on both Assad and the opposition, an option dismissed by the West.