- Arab League - Bashar al-Assad - Syria - unrest
Syria slams Arab League suspension as 'conspiracy'
Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem (pictured) on Monday reacted with fury to the Arab League's decision to suspend his country, in light of the ongoing crackdown on anti-regime protests, in which thousands have died.
AP - Syria’s foreign minister accused Arab states on Monday of conspiring against Damascus after the Arab League voted to suspend Syria’s membership over the government’s deadly crackdown on an eight month-old uprising.
Walid al-Moallem said Saturday’s near-unanimous vote at the Arab League’s headquarters in Cairo was an illegitimate decision prompted by American incitement.
“We wanted the role of the Arab League to be a supporting role but if the Arabs wanted to be conspirators, this is their business,” he told a press conference in Damascus that betrayed his country’s deep concern over the decision.
The vote to suspend Syria put Damascus in direct confrontation with other Arab powers, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who were pushing for the suspension. The vote constituted a major boost for the Syrian opposition.
Syrian President Bashar Assad asserts that extremists pushing a foreign agenda to destabilize Syria are behind the country’s unrest, rather than true reform-seekers aiming to open the country’s autocratic political system.
Al-Moallem repeated his invitation for Arab League officials to visit Syria this week to oversee implementation of an Arab League plan for ending the bloodshed.
Syria also has called for an Arab summit to discuss the country’s spiraling political unrest. But critics say that is another possible bid by Assad to buy time as he faces snowballing punitive action over a crackdown that the U.N. estimates has killed more than 3,500 people since mid-March.