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Arab League Welcomes Russian Negotiations To End Syrian Civil War

posted 12 May 2013, 12:00 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 12 May 2013, 12:01 ]

The head of the Arab League has welcomed a new effort by Russia and the United States to seek a negotiated end to Syria's civil war.

CAIROEGYPT (MAY 12, 2013) (REUTERS) -  The head of the Arab League on Sunday welcomed a new effort by Russiaand the United States to seek a negotiated end to Syria's civil war and called on theSyrian government and opposition to participate.

Nabil Elaraby, who heads The Arab League, said the people of Syria must decide on the future of their country and their president, not the international community. But he supports the supplying of arms to opponents of the Syrian regime.

"Russia saw that al-Assad shouldn't have stepped down at the beginning but can now see that he can step down in the end, but this subject was not discussed in those terms today. The Russians have admitted those who will decide Assad's fate are the Syrian people and this is right. The people are the ones who decide their President's fate, No one else," Elaraby said.

"In every armed struggle in modern history, if not all of history, including medieval times too, when there are two parties fighting, each party receives arms. This may, at certain times, be needed to create some kind of balance and hence facilitate negotiating a deal. Today we have countries arming the regime and others arming the rebels. It was announced in the ministerial meeting and was decided during the summit that all aid will be offered to the opposition, which represents the Syrian people. This includes arms, so whoever wants to offer arms can offer arms," he added.

Moscow and Washington agreed this week to try to bring Assad's government and his opponents to the negotiating table, but it remains unclear if they will agree.

Elaraby believes that consensus by two of the worlds main players is a leap forward in attempts to end the Syrian conflict.

The Western-backed National Coalition umbrella group welcomed the U.S.-Russian move on Wednesday but said that hopes for a democratic state required Assad's exit from power.

In the news conference following the Arab league's summit Elaraby also aired his views on the complexity of arming the two sides,"In every armed struggle in modern history, if not all history, including medieval times too, when there are two parties fighting each party receives arms. This may, at certain times, be needed to create some kind of balance and hence facilitate negotiating a deal. Today we have countries arming the regime and others arming the rebels. It was announced in the ministerial meeting and was decided during the summit that all aid will be offered to the opposition, which represents the Syrian people. This includes arms, so whoever wants to offer arms can offer arms." he said.

Nabil Elaraby also welcomed the US's commitment to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"The meeting that took place in Washington, ten or twelve days ago; the US clearly pledged their commitment to end the struggle [Israel-Palestine], and work on creating two states using the borders of July 4, 1967," said Elaraby.

Syria's opposition coalition will meet in Istanbul on May 23 to decide whether to participate in a U.S. and Russian-sponsored conference to try to end the Syrian civil war, coalition officials said on Sunday (May 12).


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