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Arab League rejects Syrian reform initiative | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Syria put forward an initiative to promote reform and democracy in Arab States during the Arab League’s meeting of foreign ministers yesterday. However the Arab League rejected this proposal and called on the Syrian leadership to take urgent steps to halt violence in Syria, where tanks and troops have been utilized to quell five months of protest against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule. The Syrian delegation later leaked the details of their proposal to the press.

Syria’s initiative called on all Arab States living under a state of national emergency to lift this, as well as the abolition of all state security courts. Syria’s initiative also called for a comprehensive region-wide national dialogue in all states with the objective of reaching a constitutional framework that guarantees democratic political participation, the rule of law, non-discrimination, and human rights.

The initiative included the establishment of constitutions that guarantee freedoms, the establishment of parliaments, the formation of political parties, and freedom of action for non-governmental organizations, in Arab states. In addition to this, the Syrian initiative also called for the application of the principles of democracy, political representation, good governance, and equality, as well as the establishment of strong laws to guarantee media freedoms and the right to peaceful protest.

During the second closed session of the meeting of Arab foreign ministers, Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby, reported the results of his recent visit to Syria in light of the mandate granted to him by the emergency meeting of the Arab League held on 27 August to put forward the Arab League’s initiative to address the Syrian crisis to Damascus.

An Arab diplomat, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that Elaraby summarized his talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his vision of how to implement the Arab League initiative to resolve this crisis. In addition to this, the Arab League Secretary-General also reportedly revealed the different steps and procedures that the Syrian leadership agreed to implement in order to resolve this crisis, particularly with regards to accelerating reform and implementing national dialogue.

The Arab League source also told Asharq Al-Awsat that Elaraby had accused the Syrian authorities of failing to rein in elements of the Syrian security apparatus in their dealings with the protests. However Syrian Ambassador to the Arab League, Youssef Ahmad, denied this, stressing that “what is being published in the media is completely untrue, and what is being broadcast on satellite television with regards to clashing is produced by infiltrated elements.”

The Arab League meeting of foreign ministers issued a statement today stressing that “the current situation in Syria is still very serious and an immediate change has to happen in order to stop the bloodshed and prevent people facing more violence. This requires the Syrian leadership to take urgent measures to implement the points agreed upon during the visit of the [Arab League] Secretary-General, especially stopping all violent acts.”