News / Middle East

Syria Agrees to Arab League Peace Plan

Yussef al-Ahmad, Syria's ambassador to the Arab League, attends a ministerial meeting at the organization's Cairo headquarters, November 2, 2011.
Yussef al-Ahmad, Syria's ambassador to the Arab League, attends a ministerial meeting at the organization's Cairo headquarters, November 2, 2011.
Elizabeth Arrott

A breakdown of Arab League's Syria proposal:

  • The Syrian government agrees to withdraw security forces from the streets.
  • Pro-government forces will cease their violent crackdown on demonstrators.
  • Syria will release political prisoners arrested in the uprisings.
  • The president's representatives will begin talks in Cairo with Syrian opposition groups within two weeks.
  • Syria will allow foreign journalists and Arab League officials into the country to monitor the situation.

The Arab League says Syria has agreed to a plan aimed at ending months of violence during a government crackdown on dissent. But opponents, including protesters outside an emergency meeting in Cairo, remain skeptical of any promise by the Syrian government. Even as the diplomats were meeting, Syrian activists said another 31 people were killed in mounting violence.  

The Arab League's Secretary-general, Nabil el-Araby, called the deal "a paradigm shift" in the Syrian crisis, while Qatar's foreign minister said what is needed now is for Syria to carry it out.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabir Al-Thani said the agreement will help calm conditions and solve the crisis, adding he hopes there is "a serious application" on Syria's part.

The Arab League plan calls for the withdrawal of Syria's army and armed personnel from the streets, an end to violence against protesters, and an immediate release of political prisoners.  It also calls for a dialogue between the Syrian government and its opponents, league monitoring of progress, and for foreign journalists to be allowed into the country.

Syria apparently dropped several objections to the deal, including meeting with members of the opposition outside of Syria. Talks are now set to begin in two weeks in Cairo.

But it is far from clear if the government will meet with opponents insisting on President Bashar al-Assad's departure.  The Syrian government has repeatedly called a wide swath of the protesters "terrorists" backed by foreign powers and ruled out talking with them.

The government had also opposed withdrawing security forces, arguing no country could pull back all its security presence.

Arab League officials conceded they could give no guarantees that Syria will carry through with the plan, but promised to follow up with the matter.

The Qatari foreign minister said the Arab League would not threaten anything, but noted the league is in permanent session and would call another meeting should that be needed.

For some, the lack of teeth in the league proposal, combined with past, unmet promises by Syria to reform, render the deal suspect.

Nadim Shehadi is a Syria expert at the London-based Chatham House:

"It's time to acknowledge that the Syrian regime is not acknowledging what is happening in the country and is not intending to make any reforms," said Shehadi. "So it is, in a way, playing games and trying to delay matters, because it knows that is the only way forward with the international community."

Western leaders have condemned Syria's crackdown but have been reluctant to threaten any military intervention as they did in Libya with a NATO air mission.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Video Obama to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President says US will take leadership role for a global response to deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging West Africa More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid