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Arab League awaits Syrian response to peace plan

Arab World Materials 1 November 2011 12:21 (UTC +04:00)
The Arab League was still awaiting Tuesday the response of Damascus on its proposed plan to end eight months of crisis, which have so far left more than 3,000 people dead
Arab League awaits Syrian response to peace plan

The Arab League was still awaiting Tuesday the response of Damascus on its proposed plan to end eight months of crisis, which have so far left more than 3,000 people dead, dpa reported.

According to the state-run al-Thawra newspaper, Damascus has expressed reservations about the plan, while expanding it with additional points.

An Arab diplomat based in Beirut explained that "the Syrian government is insisting that any dialogue with the Syrian opposition must take place inside Syria, rather than at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo."

"Syria has added some new points to the proposed Arab League plan, like ending what Syrians have described as the media war carried by two main Arab channels - Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera - and also to stop all arms smuggling from neighbouring countries, like Lebanon and Jordan," the diplomat told dpa.

He added that the Syrians believe that any withdrawal of army troops from the street might weaken the position of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The diplomat said the Arab league plan included the immediate release of political prisoners held since February, a withdrawal of security forces, deployment of Arab League monitors, and the launch of a dialogue.

The Syrian opposition have repeatedly said that al-Assad's offers of dialogue were not serious and that his regime was "manoeuvring."

Assad warned the West over the weekend that meddling in its affairs would cause an "earthquake" in the Middle East, where his country borders Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan.

Syria has been gripped by an uprising since mid-March. According to UN estimates, more than 3,000 people have been killed - including 187 children - in the regime's crackdown against pro-democracy protesters.

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