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Arab League demands Assad delegate power, set up unity government

Published time: January 22, 2012 21:44
Edited time: January 23, 2012 06:14

Arab foreign ministers during their meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo January 22, 2012 (Reuters / Suhaib Salem)

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The Arab League's Foreign Minister demanded on Sunday that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad delegate the presidency to his vice president and set up a unity government, as a step towards early parliamentary and presidential elections.

­That is according to Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who spoke to a news conference following Arab League talks in Cairo. He also noted that the League would ask the UN Security Council for its endorsement.

The League urged the Syrian leadership to form a new government within two months, and to start dialogue with opposition forces. And according to the League’s statement, in three months the new unity government will have to elect a council to write a new constitution. None of the Arab League's proposals support the idea of military intervention in Syria.

Earlier, the League decided to extend its the fact-finding mission in Syria for another month.

­But political analyst Omar Nashabe says the observer mission to Syria has shown that both sides of the conflict are guilty of abuses.

“I think it’s time in Syria for dialogue, and President Assad has created the platform for such dialogue. At the same time, the Arab Leagues has declared an extension for the monitors’ mission – which lacks manpower, equipment and training. It needs more time to actually build a comprehensive report.”

However, Nashabe says, the first preliminary report had leaked to the media – and as a result, he had already seen to parts of it.

“The report shows that there are some grave violations on both sides – the opposition and the so-called Syrian Free Army, they have been also using heavy gun fire against civilians. It’s time that the opposition shows good faith, shows positive signs because it is in the interests of no one that NATO steps in: there will be destruction, chaos as was the case in Libya. And as we have recently seen there, things are not turning into the beautiful democracy everybody was dreaming of.”

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