The new head of the Cairo-based Arab League, Nabil al-Araby, slammed “foreign interference” during a meeting Wednesday in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The two leaders discussed the raging civil war in Libya, the upcoming bid for statehood by the Palestinian Authority at the United Nations in September, and Assad's stated efforts to implement domestic reforms.
“Al-Araby voiced the Arab League full rejection to all bids of foreign intereference in the Syrian affairs, and support to the bulk of reforms made in Syria,” reported the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). The Arab League secretary-general also voiced support for “the bulk of reforms made in Syria, hoping that Syria would emerge stronger given its pivotal role in the region,” SANA added.
Arab governments often blame "foreign interference" for grassroots opposition within their own countries.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton scored Assad's government Monday after the American and French Embassies were attacked. Clinton told reporters that Assad had “lost legitimacy” and “has failed to deliver on he promises he's made.”
President Barack Obama followed up the next day by underlining Clinton's remarks, repeating that Assad was “losing legitimacy in the eyes of his people.” He told CBS News that the Syrian president had missed “opportunity after opportunity” to present genuine reforms.
Meanwhile a gas pipeline in northeastern Syria was damaged by a fire late Tuesday in the Tayanah area. Conflicting reports included an allegation by residents that the fire was caused by a bomb at the site.
Syrian rebels have been meeting in Turkey to discuss the establishment of a shadow government to replace the current administration if the revolution succeeds in toppling Assad's regime.