Arab panel renews call for Assad to resign

December 10, 2012 - 3:07:13 am



The Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (left) and Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al Arabi (second right) in Doha yesterday.

Doha: The Arab Ministerial Committee on Syria renewed its call for Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to step down to facilitate the process of initiating a transfer of power and stop the bloodshed and destruction.

The Committee, in a statement released in Doha yesterday after its meeting chaired by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani, said that the continuing deterioration of the situation could have the gravest consequences and serious repercussions on the future of Syria, its people and its territorial integrity as well as on the security and stability of the region, QNA reported.

The Committee affirmed its full support for the joint UN/Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in his mission to reach a formula that can ensure consensus among the Security Council members to adopt a resolution to transfer power and form a transitional government with full responsibility to rule the country and achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people in attaining freedom and change, as well as in establishing a democratic regime.

The Committee also called on the UN security Council to expedite the decision on Palestine’s request for getting full UN membership, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

The meeting was attended by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al Arabi and the heads of the committee’s member states delegations in addition to the Foreign Ministers of UAE, Oman and Kuwait. 

Meanwhile, Arab states agreed to provide the Palestinian Authority with a $100m monthly “financial safety net” to help President Mahmoud Abbas’s government cope with an economic crisis after the United Nations granted de facto statehood to Palestine.

Israel has responded to the November 29 UN vote by ordering 3,000 Jewish settler homes be built in the occupied West Bank and announced it would hold back payments of customs duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinians to pay an outstanding 

electricity bill.

In a statement yesterday after a meeting in Doha, Arab foreign ministers called for the immediate implementation of a resolution passed at an Arab summit in Baghdad in March, which called for the provision of a $100m monthly safety net.

The statement did not give details of how the money would be paid or who would pay, but Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al Arabi said a mechanism has been agreed. 

“The mechanism is that the chair of the committee (Qatar) and the secretary-general will contact each country with the exact amount they have to pay,” Al Arabi said after the 

meeting. 

“I said I want an answer in 15 days,” he added.

Israel and the United States opposed the UN General Assembly’s upgrade of the Palestinians’ status to “non-member state”, saying Abbas should instead resume peace talks that collapsed in 2010 over Israeli settlement-building.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in September that a gathering crisis in the Palestinian economy would worsen unless foreign funding increased and Israel eased long-standing curbs on development.

In a separate report, the World Bank also forecast a $1.5bn Palestinian budget deficit for 2012. 

Last Thursday, the Palestinian cabinet said at a meeting in the West Bank city of Ramallah that $240m were needed every month to meet demands arising from the Israeli decision to stop customs revenues transfers. 

AGENCIES

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