Arab countries offer Assad "safe" exit
While Syrian soldiers battle to regain control on neighborhoods in Damascus and Aleppo, the country's second largest city, international pressure is mounting on President Assad. Arab League countries on Sunday urged the Syrian leader to quit in exchange for a "safe" exit for himself and his family. This came after a meeting in Doha.
In their final communiqué issued on late last night, the Arab foreign ministers called on Assad to handover powers, assuring him that "the Arab League will help him and ensure his family a safe exit." This initiative is intended to "end the bloodshed", "preserve the unity of Syria" and "ensure a peaceful transition of power" in this country, a member of the Arab League, according to the declaration.
Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassam Al-Thani, announced that the ministers called on the opposition and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to set up a transitional government. "The opposition and FSA are called to form a government of national unity," he said. A similar proposal was already made Saturday by the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius.
This government, whose mission will be to "promote a peaceful transition," should "gather the opposition forces in Syria and abroad" and create "de facto national authority," the ministers said in their final communiqué without clarify what they mean by the "de facto"authority.
They also called on the UN to change the mandate of the international envoy to Syria Kofi Annan by this that his mission would focus on the departure of Bashar al-Assad and a peaceful transition of power, according to the text.
Sheikh Hamad urged President Assad to take a "courageous" decision to save his country. "He can stop the destruction and killings by taking a courageous decision", he stressed, indicating that only one country of the Arab League, which he did not name, had expressed reservations about the final communique. The Ministers also decided to allocate, through the Arab League, a sum of US$100 million to Syrian refugees.
Prime Minister of Qatar and the secretary general of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi are set to visit soon Moscow and Beijing. They'll present the results of the Doha meeting to leaders of Russia and China in order to put pressure on the "allies" of Damascus.
Meanwhile, Arab countries will demand an extraordinary meeting of the UN General Assembly for the creation of "safe areas" in Syria and "humanitarian corridors" in particular.