Arab FMs to convene on Syria next week in Cairo

Ben Helli welcomed the US-Russian deal on Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, saying it could open the door to a peaceful, political solution to the crisis.

Arab FMs to convene on Syria next week in Cairo

World Bulletin/News Desk

Arab foreign ministers will convene in Cairo next Monday to discuss the latest developments of the ongoing Syria crisis in light of a US-Russian agreement to eliminate the Damascus regime's chemical weapons stockpiles.

"The Arab ministerial meeting will be held on the sidelines of a meeting of the UN General Assembly in New York to discuss developments of the Syria conflict," Arab League deputy chief Ahmed Ben Helli told reporters late Tuesday.

"The Palestinian issue… will also be also on the agenda," he added.

Ben Helli welcomed the US-Russian deal on Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, saying it could open the door to a peaceful, political solution to the crisis.

"The breakthrough that this agreement represents, as narrow as it seems, should be maximized," he added. "We shouldn't only focus on the chemical weapons while neglecting other aspects of the crisis."

Under a framework agreement hammered out by the US and Russia on Saturday, Syria has one week in which to fully disclose all information about its chemical weapons arsenal.

Syrian chemical stockpiles must then be entirely eliminated before mid-2014, according to the agreement's terms.

The deal temporarily averted the possibility of immediate US military action against the Bashar al-Assad regime in response to an alleged chemical attack near Damascus on August 21, in which more than 1,400 people were killed.

Damascus, for its part, denies responsibility for the alleged attack.

Ben Helli said the agreement could produce an understanding among UN Security Council members regarding the need to find common ground on the proposed "Geneva 2" conference on Syria.

"All sides should work together to create a favorable atmosphere for the success of the Geneva 2 conference so that a ceasefire can be reached," he said.

In May, Moscow and Washington agreed to hold a second round of Syria talks in Geneva as a follow-up to an earlier meeting held in the same city in June of last year.

The Syrian government has already announced that it is ready to send a delegation to the talks without any preconditions. Syrian opposition factions, for their part, remain divided over whether or not to take part in the meeting.

"What is important for the Arab League now is to push the [Syrian] opposition to agree on sending a unified delegation, including [representatives of] both the armed opposition and the political opposition," Ben Helli said.

 

Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2013, 13:21
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