Arab League’s chief tells Assad to stop violence and meet reform demands

The Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Araby said Saturday he has urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to take steps to put an end to bloodsheds in his country and to implement democratic reforms demanded by Syrians. 

Al-Araby told reporters upon his return from Damascus that violence which has so far killed thousands of Syrian civilians "must immediately stop."  

"I conveyed (to Assad) the wish of the Arab League's Council to take immediate steps to end all acts of violence and bloodsheds and to ensure a transition to implement all the Syrian people's demands in (free) expression and reform in order to avert dangers surrounding Syria," he said.  

Al-Araby said he agreed with Assad on a series of measures to end months of bloodshed in Syria which will be presented to an Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Tuesday.

He said he told Assad to "speed up reform plans through a timetable that will make every Syrian citizen feel that he has moved to a new stage"

After Al-Araby's meeting with al-Assad in Damascus, the state-run SANA news agency said both agreed "on a number of “practical steps” to speed up the reform process.

It quoted al-Araby as telling Assad that the League rejects “foreign interference” in Syria's political unrest.

The Cairo-based group has urged Assad to stop his violent crackdown on dissent.

Syria has rejected a 13-point League's plan aimed at ending the bloody crackdown on anti-regime protests.

Al-Arabi's visit was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but postponed due to a Syrian request.

Last week, Arab diplomats told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Qatar has threatened to ask the UN Security Council to take measures to protect Syrian civilians if Damascus kept procrastinating over the League’s proposal to end the bloodshed.  

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