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Arab League ministers discuss Syria crisis in Cairo - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Arab foreign ministers arrive and welcome with each other to an emergency meeting to discuss the Syrian crisis and the potential military strike on President Bashar al-Assad's regime, at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, September 1, 2013 (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Arab foreign ministers arrive and welcome with each other to an emergency meeting to discuss the Syrian crisis and the potential military strike on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, September 1, 2013 (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Arab League foreign ministers declared Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad responsible for the crisis in Syria, and condemned the chemical attack in Damascus in August, which the US says killed 1,400 people, following a meeting of the organization in Cairo on Sunday.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said it was not possible to wait until Assad killed more Syrians, adding that any move to help the Syrian people “should not be considered foreign intervention.” He further added that “any objection to international action against Assad will encourage the Syrian government.”

The Foreign Minister said Saudi Arabia shared with the Syrian people their demands for deterrent international action against the government. He condemned the Syrian government, which he said used chemical weapons “without mercy or compassion.”

Ahmad Al-Jarba, chairman of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, called on Arab foreign ministers to defend the Syrian people by supporting the possibility of military strikes by the US against the Assad government.

Jarba said: “Syria is living through a catastrophe, especially from the humanitarian point of view.” He accused the Assad government, which “invited armies to kill the unarmed people in the name of resistance and rejection,” adding, “I ask the Arab League to support a military strike against the Assad government.”

Jarba pointed out that there was sectarian incitement behind the suffering of the Syrian people, adding that “fighters from Iran and Hezbollah are killing Syrian people, and Iraqi militias are also taking part in killing our people, too.”

“We want you as Arabs to take a historic stance to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people,” adding “we ask that Russian arms and Iranian sectarian interference are confronted,” he continued. “I ask for the support and help of the Arabs to stop the regime and support the military strike, and what Syrians expect from you is for your stance to be much greater than any Western support.”

The meeting was preceded by talks among a number of parties. Following a meeting with Egyptian President Adly Mansour, Prince Faisal said: “Saudi Arabia accepted what the Syrian people accepted, and rejected what they rejected, because they knew their interests better than anyone.”

Prince Faisal said demands for reform in Syria were met with gunfire and violence by the Assad government. He added that there were many Arab efforts to find a peaceful solution, but the Syrian government continued with its security solution which destroyed Syria, adding that even international efforts had failed.

The Saudi Foreign Minister said: “The international community has been unable to do anything until the use of poisonous gases, which are violent, inhuman and banned internationally, started. This is why the Arab League council meets at ministerial level: to support the Syrian people.”

Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fehmi said: “The Syrian revolution started by demanding freedom and dignity and therefore, Egypt’s vision is for the solution to start from the point of preserving the Syrian nation. . . . As for chemical weapons, they are internationally banned and we must not remain silent on their use.” He added that Egypt “preferred the Geneva II solution, which is still possible.”