Arab League seeks UN backing on Syrian crisis

Arab League seeks UN backing on Syrian crisis

The Arab League has requested a meeting with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon so it can present its proposals on resolving the Syria crisis and demand support from the U.N. Security Council, a senior League official said, as Gulf states piled on pressure by pulling their observers out of the country and urging strong U.N. action.

The request was issued jointly by the pan-Arab body’s secretary general, Nabil al-Arabi, and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, deputy secretary Ahmad bin Helli told Agence France-Presse. “A letter has been addressed to Ban Ki-moon requesting a meeting at the U.N. headquarters to inform him of the Arab plan and ask for the support of the Security Council for this plan,” an official said. 

The Arab League on Jan. 22 asked the U.N. to support a new plan for resolving the crisis in Syria that sees al-Assad transferring power to his deputy and a government of national unity within two months. Damascus swiftly rejected the League’s proposals, calling them an “attack” on its national sovereignty and a “flagrant interference” in its internal affairs.

GCC withdrawing

In a related development, the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced in a joint statement yesterday they had decided “to follow Saudi Arabia’s decision to pull out its observers from the Arab League mission in Syria.” They said their decision arose from “closely following developments in Syria and after they confirmed that the bloodshed and killings there continue (and after) the Syrian regime did not comply with implementing the Arab League decisions.” 

They also called on “members of the U.N. Security Council... to take all needed measures at the Security Council to press Syria to implement the Arab League decisions and the Arab initiative on Syria.” Saudi Arabia, the most influential GCC member, decided Jan. 22 to pull its observers from a widely criticized Arab League mission to Syria. Other GCC members include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.