Accessibility links

Breaking News

Syria Calls Arab League Suspension 'Dangerous Step'


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Syria says an Arab League decision to suspend it amid an ongoing response to antiregime protests was "an extremely dangerous step."

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem told a televised press conference in Damascus that Washington's welcoming of the Arab League decision amounted to "incitement."

The Arab League on November 12 decided to suspend Syria until it implements an agreement to halt a bloody crackdown on the protests.

The United Nations says at least 3,500 people have been killed since protests against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began in March.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels have agreed to impose sanctions on a further 18 Syrian individuals over the crackdown. The EU has already imposed an assets freeze and travel bans on 56 Syrian individuals and has also frozen the funds of 18 companies and institutions.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said the European Union was committed to working closely with the Arab League.

"The situation in Syria causes enormous concern," Ashton said. "I spoke last night with Nabil al-Araby, the secretary-general of the Arab League, and expressed our commitment to working closely with them, our concerns, as they have, for the civilians in Syria, over 3,500 of whom have lost their lives, and our commitment to work with them and with the multilateral channels to try and get resolution to this."

King Abdullah of Jordan meanwhile told the BBC on November 13 that Assad should begin a new era of political dialogue before stepping down in the interest of Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Arab League decision to suspend Syria was "incorrect."

compiled from agency reports