Arab League Panel Considers U.N. Action Against Syria

Posted December 17th, 2011 at 8:00 pm (UTC-5)
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An Arab League ministerial committee has proposed asking the U.N. Security Council to adopt a peace plan aimed at ending Syria's anti-government unrest.

The panel agreed to the proposal during a meeting in Doha Saturday. The group will present the plan at an Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Wednesday.

Qatar's Prime Minister says Damascus is delaying a response to a plan, crafted by the the 22-member Arab bloc.

The plan calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to withdraw his forces from restive cities, free prisoners and start a reform-minded dialogue with the opposition. The league also wants Syria to allow international observers to enter the country.

Meanwhile, activists say at least 34 people died in opposition unrest on Saturday, including eight army defectors.

The U.N. estimates that 5,000 people have been killed since the uprising began in February. Syria's U.N. ambassador has rejected that figure as “incredible.”

Separately, an Iraqi delegation held talks with Mr. Assad on Saturday on ending the escalating violence. The head of the delegation, Iraq's national security adviser is quoted as reporting the talks were “positive.”

The Iraqi official is heading next to Cairo to report his findings to Arab League members on the nine-month-long uprising.

Also Saturday, the opposition Syrian National Council met in Tunisia. The French news agency says the group is discussing plans that could accelerate Mr. Assad's resignation.