Araby meets Syrian opposition, recommends talks with Assad

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby met a delegation from the Syrian opposition on Monday at the League’s headquarters in Cairo.

The Syrian opposition in Cairo had sharply criticized the results of Sunday’s emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers, at which Syria’s membership in the League was widely expected to be frozen, but was not.

The foreign ministers granted Syria 15 days to implement reforms, stop kllling protesters, release all detainees, and begin negotiations with the opposition at the Arab League’s headquarters. It also dispatched a ministerial committee from the League to Syria to examine the situation on the ground.

The UN stated that 2900 citizens have been killed by Assad’s regime since protests erupted six months ago in the Egyptian city of Deraa and quickly spread throughout the country. The United States and European Union imposed sanctions on Syrian oil exports and have been trying – so far in vain – to impose United Nations sanctions on the Assad regime.

During Monday’s meeting, Araby suggested organizing a meeting between the Syrian government and the opposition to reach a common strategy to stop the bloodshed, but the delegation refused.

“The regime lost its legitimacy because of the massacres committed against Syrians,” said members of the opposition delegation, who rejected the possibility of allowing Assad to remain president of Syria.

Members of the delegation inquired about the Arab League’s refusal to take strong measures, such as freezing Syria’s membership.

Araby replied, “Some countries preferred not to go with this solution and chose to give Assad another chance to salvage whatever could be salvaged now,” while affirming the League’s intention of supporting the Syrian people.

Engineer Yasser al-Najar, a member of the Syrian National Council, stated after the meeting that it was held “upon request of the secretary general himself to find out the reactions of Syrian people after announcing the 15-day time limit given to the regime.”

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