11/17/2011, 00.00
SYRIA
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Arab League ultimatum to Damascus: Peace in three days, or sanctions

The foreign ministers who met in Rabat give three days to Assad to end the armed repression and allow the entry of observers into the country, and demand a "solution to the crisis without any foreign intervention." France and Morocco recall the ambassadors after the attacks on embassies.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Arab League has given three days to Syria to end the bloodshed and allow the entry of observers or unspecified sanctions will be imposed. "We shall stop wasting time. People continue to be killed, " said Qatar’s Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani during a press conference. Details were not provided of the sanctions to be adopted if the Syrian government does not put an end to its armed repression in line with the League’s peace plan.

Sheik Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani also said: " We do not want to talk about a last-ditch attempt because I do not want this to sound like a warning. What I can say is that we are close to the end of the road as far as the (Arab League's) efforts on this front are concerned". The text of the final communiqué issued by the foreign ministers after their meeting in Rabat said: "Observers are to be sent into Syria if the Syrian government signs the agreement within three days starting today and once the violence and the killing stop. The observers will make sure Syrian security and pro-government militias do not attack peaceful demonstrations".

The meeting yesterday confirmed the suspension of Damascus by the League, if it fails to withdraw its tanks from cities, release arrested opponents and launch a dialogue with the opposition. Which, meanwhile, is taking on a concrete form; a group called Free Syrian Army, composed of officers and soldiers who have deserted the military, yesterday attacked a Syrian security command south-west of Damascus. The Arab League communiqué of the states that "ministers stressed the importance of the stability and unity of Syria and the need for the resolution of the crisis without any foreign intervention,” according to a statement."

The increase in violence is the responsibility of the Assad regime says the U.S. State Department spokesman, Mark Toner: "Let’s be very clear - he said - that it is the brutal tactics of Assad and his regime in dealing with what began as a nonviolent movement that is now taking Syria down a very dangerous path”. France and Morocco have recalled their ambassadors from Damascus after attacks by pro-Assad supporters on the diplomatic missions of the two countries, as well as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Taib Fassi Fihri said: "The decision was taken by King Mohammed VI to protest against a system that fails to innovate."

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Ultimatum expires, Arab League threatens new sanctions on Damascus
05/12/2011
Damascus to ask Arab League for help against US and French pressures
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