Arab League suspended Syria, calls for sanctions
By Rizwan Khatik - Sun Nov 13, 4:08 am
The Arab League on Saturday suspended Syria until President Bashar al-Assad implements an Arab deal to end violence against protesters, and called for sanctions and transition talks with the opposition. Syrian envoy Yussef Ahmad denounced the move as illegal, saying Damascus had already implemented the deal and accusing the United States of ordering the suspension.
He also charged that the League was trying to “provoke foreign intervention in Syria, as was the case in Libya.”
US President Barack Obama praised the move and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton expressed her full support. The opposition Syrian National Council said it was a “step in the right direction.”
A statement, read by Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani, said the League had decided “to suspend Syrian delegations’ activities in Arab League meetings” and to implement “economic and political sanctions” against Damascus.
Sheikh Hamad said the suspension would last “until the total implementation (by Syria) of the Arab plan for resolving the crisis accepted by Damascus on November 2.”
In Damascus, hundreds of angry demonstrators showered the Saudi embassy with rocks before some broke in, breaking windows and sacking the premises, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.
Demonstrators also broke through the gates of the Qatari embassy and took down the country’s flag, replacing it with a Syrian one, an AFP photographer said.
Ahmad also said the moves decided by League foreign ministers in a vote of 18-3, with one abstention, “put an end to joint Arab action and show that the (League’s) administration is subjected to US and Western agendas.”