A senior Arab League official said the stance on the Syrian crisis will be extremely strict the moment the ultimatum for sending observers expires while a prominent member of the Syrian opposition has accused the regime of undermining the Arab initiative.
Khaled al-Habbas, advisor to the Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi, said the league will no longer tolerate any procrastination on the part of the Syrian regime.
“The Arab League will not allow the Syrian regime to buy more time,” he said Saturday in an interview with Al Arabiya’s show Panorama.
Habbas denied allegations that the Arab League is unable to deal with the Syrian crisis and stressed that the situation requires a great deal of planning.
“Looking into the different approaches to the coming stage in Syria requires a lot of effort. The situation is critical and cannot be solved in a couple of hours.”
On the other hand, prominent member of the Syrian opposition and head of National Organization for Human Rights Ammar al-Qurabi argued that the modifications suggested by the Syrian regime to the observers’ agreement constitutes the end of the Arab initiative.
He also stressed that the Arab League is currently taking several measures against the Syrian regime.
“The Arab League is giving the Syrian regime a final chance and at the same time it froze its membership and is currently looking into the possibility of imposing economic sanctions,” he told Al Arabiya’s Panorama Saturday.
Qurabi added that the Syrian regime has to issue an apology for the “indecent words” it used in reference to Arab League officials.
The ultimatum given to the Syrian regime by the Arab League to stop violence against unarmed civilians ends Sunday night. The Assad regime has requested modifying the agreement that regulates the work of a committee of observers in Syria.
Arab League Secretary-General said he received a message from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem detailing those modifications required by the Syrian regime. Arabi, however, did not disclose the content of this message nor the requested modifications.
According to the Syrian opposition, the regime requested that 18 modifications be made to the observers’ agreement, on top of which was banning any contact with the Syrian people and choosing only Arab League officials for membership of the committee.
Sources in the Syrian opposition announced that the modifications also include the entire legal framework through which the observers are expected to work in addition to what missions they will be assigned and in which places. The regime also requested that observers be banned from entering hospitals and prisons.
In addition, the regime demanded looking into the security file of each of the members of the observers’ committee.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)