Arab League denies getting Syrian request for emergency summit as hundreds demonstrate in Damascus
The spokesman for the 22-member Arab League, Hisham Yusuf, on Tuesday denied getting an official request from Syria to hold an emergency Arab League summit to elicit the combined support for Syria in the face of the United Nations Security Council's resolution 1636, adopted Monday.
The UN Council demanded in that resolution that Syria increase its cooperation regarding its inquiry into the assassination of a former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri last February.
Several senior Syrian officials were implicated in the Council's first inquiry report, which Syria has described consistently as significantly flawed and politically motivated to tarnish Syria's image, according to Time Online. Syria denies any involvement in the murder of Hariri.
Yusuf said that at this stage a summit was not considered even though the Arab League's Secretary General, Amr Moussa, is holding intensive consultations with "Syrian, Lebanese and Arab officials on this issue.".
Arab diplomats, however, proposed a smaller meeting including Syria, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Lebanon and Egypt, anticipating that a broad summit was unlikely for fear of hurting relations with the United States, France and Britain.
Anti-Syrian Lebanese political leader Walid Jumblatt implied in comments to reporters that Syria faced the same future as did Iraq if it did not comply with international demands for transparency regarding Hariri's assassination and possible Syrian involvement in it.
Syria agrees to comply with UN Council
Meanwhile, Syria announced on Tuesday that it would abide by the wishes of the inquiry committee, headed by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis.
In Damascus, hundreds of demonstrators gathered on Tuesday armed with banners that read "We have nothing to hide." "We are not criminals. We are not terrorists. We just need peace," declared one protester. This demonstration was organized by the regime.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)