Syria signs deal to allow in AL monitors
Syria has agreed to allow Arab observers in to monitor the rights situation in the country and the implementation of an Arab League initiative to end months of unrest.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Monday that Damascus had agreed to sign the observer mission after making sure it did not violate its sovereignty, and after the Arab League accepted amendments demanded by the Syrian government.
“Signing the protocol is the start of cooperation with the Arab League and we will welcome the observers’ mission from the Arab League,” Muallem told a news conference in Damascus adding that “Sovereignty is protected in the text of the protocol”.
“Article 8 of the Arab League charter protects existing structures and bans countries from interfering… In this protocol we are talking about protecting civilians from terrorist groups,” the top Syrian diplomat said.
Under the terms of the deal, which was signed at the AL headquarters in Cairo, the Arab observers are intended to oversee the implementation of an Arab League peace plan which calls for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from crisis-hit areas and the opening of negotiations between Damascus and the opposition under League auspices.
The Arab League had given Syria until Wednesday to ink the document and threatened to ask the UN Security Council to adopt its peace plan if Damascus refused to sign the deal.
On November 27, the 22-member League approved a range of economic sanctions against Syria for failing to admit observers.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March and according to the UN, 5,000 people have been killed in the country over the past nine months.
While the West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of the killings, Damascus blames ”outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest that erupted in mid-March, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.
In interviews with Israeli news outlets over the past few months, the Syrian opposition members have clearly expressed their vision for the future of Syria and their interest in establishing relations with the Tel Aviv regime.