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Arab League Suspends Syria


Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi (left) chats with Qatari Premier Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani during an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers at the Arab League in Cairo in October. (file photo)
The Arab League has voted to suspend Syria from all meetings until Damascus implements an agreement to end its bloody crackdown against antigovernment protesters.

The organization said in a statement read by Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jassem al-Thani that the suspension will begin on November 16.

The Arab League also called for the withdrawal of Arab ambassadors from Damascus. Thani said 18 countries agreed to today's decision, while Lebanon, Yemen, and Syria voted against it. Iraq abstained.

The European Union backed the Arab League's decision to suspend Syria, with a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton saying it highlights the Assad regime's mounting "isolation."

Syria's representative to the Arab League, Youssef Ahmed, said the decision to suspend Damascus violated the organization's charter and showed it was "serving a Western and American agenda."

compiled from agency reports