Arab League denies agreement on suspending Syria membership
The head of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi Sunday denied media reports that Arab foreign ministers had agreed to suspend Syria's membership in the pan-Arab organization in response to ongoing government crackdowns on protesters, DPA reported.
"We did not reach an agreement on freezing Syria's membership," al-Arabi told dpa following consultative talks at a Cairo hotel.
The Arab ministers were to hold an emergency meeting on Syria later Sunday upon a request from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which have said the situation in Syria was deteriorating.
Al-Arabi has recently conveyed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad an Arab initiative to: halt violence against pro-democracy protesters in the country; initiate dialogue talks with opposition; and carry out genuine political reforms.
Egypt's semi-official newspaper Al Ahram, quoting diplomatic sources, reported on Sunday that the Arab foreign ministers were likely to discuss suspending Syria's membership of the Arab League.
The ministers may also consider the possibility of recognizing the newly formed opposition Syrian National Council, the sources said.
"However, the new Arab stance will not reach the point of backing an international intervention in Syria," the paper quoted the unidentified sources as saying.
More than 3,000 civilians, including at least 187 children, have been killed in Syria since anti-government protests erupted in mid-March, the United Nations said on Friday.