Syria: Arab League suspension threat illegal

Syrian foreign minister says moves to suspend country from regional bloc are a dangerous step

Syria’s foreign minister says Arab League threat to suspend Syria’s membership prompted by US incitement [Reuters]

Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Muallem has rejected the Arab League’s threat to suspend the country over its crackdown on protests, saying the move would be “illegal” and a “dangerous step”.
“The suspension of the Arab League membership is illegal,” Walid al-Muallem told a press conference in Damascus on Monday.
Al-Muallem also criticised the Cairo-based league’s relations with the United States, calling the US an “unofficial member” of the league.
“The Arab League said it worked for stopping the violence in Syria and said the US is not a member of the Arab League… but they are an unofficial member,” he said.
Al-Muallem added that he is confident Russia and China, who have rejected calls for tougher international action, will not change their stance on Syria in the UN Security Council.
Addressing Syrians, al-Muallem said: “You should not feel any worry regarding the future. It will come out stronger due to will of people and national unity.”

Al Jazeera’s Nisreen el-Shamayleh reporting from the Jordanian border said “suspending Syria from the Arab League in the eyes of many would attract foreign intervention from outside the Arab world”.

It is “unclear whether the Arab League will accept to convene an emergency meeting” or will suspend the Syria at the bloc’s meeting on Wednesday, el- Shamayleh added.

“This has been a bad week for Syria a founding member of the Arab League,” Salman Sheikh, the director of the Brookings Doha Centre told Al Jazeera.

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has responded with lethal force in a bid to crush unprecedented protests against his rule that erupted in March.

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