El-Araby Still Hopeful of Political Solution to Syrian Crisis
Arab League Secretary-General Dr. Nabil El Araby restated his conviction that a political resolution to the Syrian crisis was still possible, if there is a unified Arab position regarding the matter. He, however, described the conditions in Syria as "catastrophic".
Adressing the opening session of the preparatory Ministerial meeting of the 24th regular session of the Arab Summit, El Araby said that he was still hopeful that Syria could reach a political solution to the crisis and avoid more violence, while criticizing the Syrian regime for not responding to calls of change and democratic reform made by the Syrian people. He also criticized them for the violent crackdown on protesters.
El-Araby noted that it was imperative that the international community resorts to the United Nations Security Council to obtain a cease fire and send peacekeeping units into Syria. El-Araby added that the Joint UN-Arab League Envoy on Syria Lakhdar Librahimi must hold bilateral talks with the Syrian regime on one side, and the Syrian opposition on the other. Both sides must address two key questions according to El Araby; the first is how to start the transitional period in Syria, and the second is how to form a transitional government that has full powers as agreed in the final statement of the Geneva Conference on Syria back in July 2012.
The Arab League Secretary-General called for working on ending the struggle of millions of Syrian refugees who were displaced as a result of violence, and also urged Arab countries to get ready to contribute to the re-building of Syria. The Arab League Secretary-General expressed his confidence in the ability of HH the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani to lead joint Arab work during this summit that has an impact on Arab citizens everywhere, expressing his hope that the Doha Summit will open new horizons for the future and find practical solutions to all the crises facing the Arab world. He noted that this year's summit will discuss a limited number of issues in order to explore each of them thoroughly. These issues are the Palestinian cause, the Syrian crisis, Arab economic integration and developing the Arab League, he said.
On the Palestinian issue, El-Araby said that talks were taking place with the United States to send to Washington an Arab delegation headed by the Chairman of the Arab Peace Initiative Committee. The delegation will discuss with the US administration new options to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.
El-Araby also thanked HH the Emir, the government and the people of Qatar for hosting the 24th Arab Summit at a time when the Arab world is facing a lot of challenges.