Saturday, November 12, 2011

Arab League Suspends Syrian Membership, Calls for Sanctions Against Assad’s Regime

From Al Arabiya:
The Arab League voted to suspend Syria’s membership at its meeting on Saturday and said it would impose economic and political sanctions against the regime of Bashar al-Assad as well as call for the withdrawal of Arab ambassadors from Damascus.

The Arab foreign ministers meeting at the League’s headquarters in Cairo also called on the Syrian army to cease its involvement in the killing of civilians and invited the Syrian opposition for transition talks.

Opponents of Assad were hoping that the Arab League would suspend Syria’s membership after Assad pressed ahead with a military crackdown on the unrest despite an Arab peace plan that urged him to end the violence.

The ministers attending an emergency session of the League called a recess early into the meeting to allow a narrowed ministerial committee to work out a final position, according to a source who was inside the meeting.

He said there was a strong push by some states to suspend Syria, while others wanted to give Assad’s regime more time.

According to Al Arabiya TV, Lebanon and Yemen voted against suspending Syria’s membership while Iraq abstained from voting.

Khaled al-Habbas, an assistant to Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi, told reporters before the meeting that the situation in Syria was “complex” and “Arab countries are trying to find a solution that reconciles different viewpoints.”

The United Nations says 3,500 people have been killed in Assad’s crackdown on the protests.
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