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The Arab League suspends Syria and recalls its ambassadors

Translated Sunday 20 November 2011, by Shelagh Rothero and reviewed by Bill Scoble

Keywords: Syria, Bashar al-Assad,

The Arab League countries voted on 12 November for the suspension of Syria and called for new sanctions, effective as of 16 November. The League allowed Syria four days to implement the peace plan and put an end to repression. Of the 22 members of the Arab League, 18 voted in favour of the sanctions, three were against - Syria, Yemen, Lebanon - and Iraq abstained.

- The Arab league suspended ‘Syrian Arab Republic’s access to all its meetings and participation in all proceedings as of 16 November, until the Arab exit strategy plan accepted by Damascus on 2 November had been fully implemented’.

- The Arab league called for ‘the withdrawal of Arab ambassadors from Damascus’, a decision, however, left to ‘the discretion of each Sovereign State’ member of the institution.

- The Arab ministers were also in agreement on the ‘principle of economic and political sanctions’, but gave no further details.

- The league invited ‘all members of the Syrian opposition to meet at the Arab League headquarters in three working days to agree on a unified vision for the transitional period in Syria. The Council of Ministers is awaiting the results of these consultations and depending on the outcome of these talks will decide what can be agreed concerning the recognition of the Syrian opposition’.

- The League decided, ‘for the protection of Syrian civilians’, to ‘contact the Arab organisations concerned immediately’. Should the violence and assassinations continue, secretary general Nabil al-Arabi was to contact the international organisations, including the United Nations.

The sanctions were imposed as the result of al-Assad’s refusal to put an end to the violent repression which, since March, has caused more than 3500 deaths, and at least 120 since the Syrian dictator signed a peace agreement with the Arab League. The Arab League’s decision to suspend Syria is ‘illegal and contrary to the treaty’ of the pan-Arab organisation, replied the Syrian ambassador Youssef Ahmad.

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