Lebanon urges Arab League to reinstate Syria
Wednesday, 06 March 2013
CAIRO: Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour called on Wednesday for Syria's suspension from the Arab League to be lifted in order to help find a political solution to the conflict in the country.
Damascus was suspended from membership of the Cairo-based League in November 2011, eight months into what began as a peaceful popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
"I call for Syria's membership of the Arab League to be unblocked," Mansour told a League ministerial meeting. "Communication with Syria ... is essential for a political solution."
Lebanese Prime Minister NajibMikati's government is dominated by a coalition including the militant group Hezbollah and its mainly Shi'ite and Christian allies who support Assad.
Mikati, who has sought to follow a policy of "dissociation" from the conflict in Lebanon's dominant neighbour, has said his country would respect any decisions taken by the League over Syria. However, Mansour has been critical of the Cairo-based organisation's steps against Damascus.
"We have held meetings over two years and taken decision after decision thinking that with them we will be providing Syria with security and stability by removing the regime and replacing it with another - while Syria sank into blood and destruction," said Mansour.
Qatar, which has led efforts at the League against Damascus, blamed Assad for nearly two years of bloodshed in Syria in which an estimated 70,000 people have been killed.
"The person who brought a sea of blood is Bashar because he did not commit to the Arab decisions and did not cooperate with us," Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al-Thani told the meeting.
One million refugees have fled Syria, piling pressure on its neighbours, including Lebanon, which are struggling to support them, the United Nations refugee agency said on Wednesday. (Reuters)