Syria on Monday inked an Arab observer mission agreement. Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Maqdad and Arab League Assistant Secretary General Ahmed Ben Helli signed the document at League headquarters in Cairo, AFP reported.
Speaking at a news conference in Damascus, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said that his country had only signed up to the deal after making sure it did not infringe its sovereignty. According to him, the deal was an initial period of one month, renewable with the agreement of both sides.
“Signing the protocol is the start of cooperation with the Arab League and we will welcome the observers’ mission from the Arab League,” he stated. “Sovereignty is protected in the text of the protocol,” he added.
“Article 8 of the Arab League charter protects existing structures and bans countries from interfering... In this protocol we are talking about protecting civilians from terrorist groups.”
Muallem said that he expected the observer mission to vindicate the regime’s position that the government has been battling armed groups. “There are many countries in the world who don’t wish to admit the presence of terrorist armed groups in Syria.” he said.
“They will come and see that they are present... We must not be afraid at all.”