Syria rejects solutions offered by Arab League ‘plotters’
AFP DAMASCUS SYRIA’S Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Tuesday rejected an Arab League solution to the unrest sweeping his country, accusing the 22- member bloc of plotting to internationalise the crisis.
“Enough of the Arab solutions from now,” Muallem told a news conference, after accusing the Arabs of “plotting” to internationalise the crisis and taking decisions while “knowing that they will be rejected” by the Syrian authorities.
His remarks came after the Arab League called on President Bashar al Assad to hand over power to his deputy and to clear the way for a unity government within two months, in a surprise weekend announcement.
“We do not want Arab solutions.
We said that two days ago when we refused the initiative and when the ministers council decided to turn to the Security Council,” said Muallem. “We categorically refused (this proposal).” “The solution is a Syrian one based on the interests of the Syrian people... based on the completion of the reform programme proposed by President Bashar al Assad.” The foreign minister also stressed that Damascus’ traditional ally Russia would never accept any foreign interference in the country’s internal affairs.
“No one can doubt the strength of the Russian- Syrian relationship,” based on their history and the interests of both people, Muallem said.
“Russia will never accept foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs. That is the red line.” Moscow maintains that any resolution by the UN Security Council against Assad would be the first steps toward regime change by force, as in Libya last year, and together with China has vetoed such moves.
Muallem also said that it was “the duty of the Syrian government to take the necessary measures to address the problem of those armed elements who are wreaking havoc throughout Syria for the last few months.” The United Nations estimates that more than 5,400 people have been killed since March last year when the regime of President Bashar al-Assad launched a crackdown on protesters calling for democratic reforms.
The Damascus government blames the unrest on “armed terrorist groups”.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Muallem admitted that the violence was causing an economic crisis in Syria, but vowed that the government would not be swayed.
“There is no doubt that any kind of sanctions affect the population but they do not affect the political situation,” Muallem said during a news conference in the Syrian capital.
The European Union on Monday slapped fresh sanctions on Syria, adding security officials to a new list of people and firms hit by a travel ban and asset freeze.