Arab Foreign Ministers hold meeting on Syria

January 22, 2012

Under the chairmanship of Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, a meeting of the Arab League’s Foreign Ministers Council began in Cairo today. The session was called to discuss the latest developments in Syria in light of the comprehensive report prepared by the head of the Arab League’s mission to Syria, Mohammed Al-Dabi. Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal led the Kingdom’s delegation to the meeting.

In an address, Sheikh Hamad outlined the role of the Arab monitors in Syria, noting the problems they face and offering possible solutions. He stressed that the goal of the Arab League is to facilitate a consensus between the Syrian government and opposition factions through a national dialogue, thereby ending the bloodshed and preserving the country’s territorial integrity, security and stability. What is required now, Sheikh Hamad said, is to conduct a thorough revision of the work of the mission, study the report’s findings and consider other options. Alternative courses of actions include dispatching an Arab peace-keeping force to Syria, or presenting the issue before the United Nations Security Council, he added.

For his part, Arab League Secretary General Dr. Nabeel Al-Arabi suggested that the Council extend the mission, expand the monitoring team and provide its members with political, logistical and media support. He quoted the new report, which stated that while there is progress, the Syrian government is still not abiding by its pledge of complete and prompt compliance with the Arab plan. He noted that some streets and residential districts in Syria were out of the control of the Syrian government after being taken over by armed and non-armed elements of the opposition, a development that has further aggravated the nature of the monitoring mission.