Arab League chief meets Syria opposition group
CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi (L) sits next to Qatari Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani during a ministerial meeting held on November 2, 2011 at the 22-nation organisation's Cairo headquarters on the situation in Syria. AFP photo
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi met Syrian opposition figures Thursday, a day after Damascus agreed to open talks with dissidents, a member of the Syrian National Council said.
Arabi "briefed us on the details of the Arab League initiative and its goals ... aimed at finding an Arab solution to the Syrian crisis based on the need to stop the bloodshed in Syria," said Samir al-Nashar, a member of the executive bureau of the SNC.
Damascus pledged on Wednesday to withdraw its forces from protest centres and engage in a dialogue with the opposition under an Arab League plan to end the bloodshed.
The SNC, the largest and most representative Syrian opposition grouping, on Wednesday urged the Arab League to freeze Syria's membership in the Arab League and recognise it as the sole representative of the Syrian opposition.
Asked if the SNC agrees to engage in talks with the Syrian regime, Nashar said: "No.
"We are not talking about a dialogue. We offered to engage in negotiations to move from a authoritarian regime to a democratic regime. And we ask that Bashar al-Assad resign.
"We told the secretary general of our fears that the regime will not keep its promises," Nashar added.
Asked if Syria gave guarantees concerning the implementation of the peace plan, Nashar said Arabi informed the delegation that an Arab ministerial task force will follow up on the implementation of the roadmap.
Meanwhile, an Arab diplomat said the ministerial task force is expected to visit Syria soon to follow up on the implementation of the agreement.