UN chief hails Arab league decision to suspend Syria

The plan includes the release of prisoners, withdrawal of security forces from the streets and talks between government and opposition.

Last Updated: Nov 13, 2011, 17:17 PM IST

New York: UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon has hailed the Arab League for suspending Syria`s
membership and implementing economic and political sanctions
against it, and called for immediate cessation of violence.

In a statement, Ban urged Syrian authorities to "heed the
call from the League to stop violence by the army against
civilians immediately."

Yesterday, the League voted to suspend Syria from
participating in its council meetings and activities starting
on Wednesday until the government implements all of its
commitments under the peace plan proposed by the League last
week.

The plan includes the release of prisoners, withdrawal of
security forces from the streets and talks between government
and opposition.

Although Syrian authorities have accepted the plan,
violence has continued in the country, with the total death
toll surpassing 3,500, according to the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Moon called on Syrian authorities "to implement the plan
fully and speedily," and welcomed the intention of the League
to protect civilians.

The Secretary General also said he was encouraged by
efforts from the League to "promote a genuine and inclusive
political dialogue, starting with the League`s call for a
meeting by the Syrian opposition in the coming days," and
reiterated that violence must stop immediately "to open the
way for a credible Syrian-led process of comprehensive
political change that will address the democratic aspirations
of the Syrian people."

However, Syrian envoy Yussef Ahmad has angrily denounced
the move as illegal, saying Damascus had already implemented
the deal and claimed the United States had ordered the
suspension.

He also charged the League was trying to "provoke
foreign intervention in Syria, as was the case in Libya."

PTI