01/24/2012, 00.00
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Gulf states and Saudi Arabia pull observers from Syria mission

The decision follows Damascus’ refusal to implement crisis plan. The Arab League on Sunday had called on Bashar al-Assad to delegate power to his vice president and for elections to be held under a national unity government. Damascus continues to see a “plot against Syria”.
Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Gulf States have decided today to pull out their observers from the Arab League mission to Syria following Saudi Arabia, which announced the same on Sunday. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said it was "certain the bloodshed and killing of innocents would continue, and that the Syrian regime would not abide by the Arab League's resolutions." The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Syrian authorities rejected the Arab League’s demand outright for power to be delegated to the vice president and elections under a “national unity government”.

"Syria rejects the decisions taken which are outside an Arab working plan, and considers them an attack on its national sovereignty and a flagrant interference in internal affairs," Syrian state television quoted a government official as saying.

An official Syrian source told state news agency SANA on Monday the Arab initiative was a "conspiracy against Syria" and "flagrant interference" in its affairs.

The new plan envisioned the "peaceful departure of the Syrian regime" and resembled the arrangement in Yemen, where Gulf states convinced Ali Abdullah Saleh, the outgoing president, to delegate power and leave the country after 30 years in power.

The Arab League's observer mission decided to extend its mission after its one-month mandate expired last week.

General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi of Sudan, leading the team, said on Monday that violence in Syria dipped after the observers arrived.

"After the arrival of the mission, the intensity of violence began to decrease," he said. "The mission's role is monitoring and is not stopping the killing or stopping the destruction or otherwise."

Dabi also maintained that "heavy military equipment" was removed from "all cities" in Syria.

His comments were widely criticised by the opposition.
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Arab League mission to Damascus raises doubts
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