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Middle east

Syria rejects Arab League deal to monitor unrest

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-04

Syria will not be accepting observers to monitor a crackdown on anti-regime protests after the Arab League refused to make amendments to a deal calling for international monitoring to begin on Sunday, an official told AFP.

AFP - Syria will not send a delegation to Doha on Sunday to sign a protocol to accept observers to monitor unrest sweeping the country after it demanded new amendments to the deal, a senior Qatari official said.

"No," the official told AFP when asked if a delegation from Damascus was expected in Doha.

The official, who requested anonymity, said Syria has asked for "new clarifications and further amendments to be made to the protocol which was proposed" to send observers.

But the Arab ministers had "refused."

The Arab League ministerial committee late on Saturday gave Damascus until Sunday to accept observers to monitor the deadly unrest and thereby avoid further sanctions.

The Saturday meeting issued a list of 19 Syrian officials banned from travel to Arab countries and whose assets are to be frozen by those states.

The Arab League had approved sweeping sanctions against Assad's government over the crackdown -- the first time that the bloc has enforced such punitive measures against a member state.

The Qatari official said, however, that if Syrian officials "still want to sign, they can come tomorrow to Cairo."

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al-Thani said Saturday: "During the meeting we contacted Damascus... and we asked them to come tomorrow (to Doha) to sign" the protocol.

The vote on sanctions came after Damascus defied an earlier ultimatum to accept observers under an Arab League peace plan and put an end to the crackdown in force since mid-March.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said last month that the wording of the text to send observers undermined his country's sovereignty because it "totally ignores the Syrian state, even coordination with the Syrian state."
 

Date created : 2011-12-04

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