Arab League Plan for Syria May Go to UN Security Council

Posted December 17th, 2011 at 3:40 pm (UTC-5)
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The Arab League may ask the U.N. Security Council to adopt an Arab peace plan aimed at ending Syria's violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Qatar's Prime Minister said Saturday that Syria is delaying its response to the Arab peace proposal.

He said Arab foreign ministers will meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss taking the peace plan to the U.N. Security Council if Syria does not accept the proposal and begin carrying it out. His remarks appeared to rule out any military action by the Arab League against Syria.

The prime minister spoke in the Qatari capital, Doha, after an emergency meeting of the Arab League.

The Arab peace plan calls for President Bashar al-Assad to withdraw his forces from restive cities, free prisoners and start a reform-minded dialogue with the opposition.

Violence continued on Saturday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces killed at least 20 civilians, many of them in the restive province of Homs.

Activists said security forces killed at least 17 people on Friday.

Separately, an Iraqi delegation in Damascus held talks Saturday with Mr. Assad 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.

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.”