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Syrian Deal with Arab League Released in Cairo

The Syrian agreement to end 7 months of bloodshed against civilian protesters has been released to media. But will it be implemented?
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 11/3/2011, 9:38 AM

Syria's agreement reached with the Arab League Ministerial Committee in Cairo was released Wednesday night to the media. In it, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to “stop all acts of violence from any source in protection of the Syrian citizens.”

More than 3,000 people have been killed since March in bloody government crackdowns by Syrian army troops.

The announcement came in a statement made from the headquarters of the Arab League following days of talks between Syrian officials and the Arab League Ministerial Committee that began in earnest on Sunday. Similar such agreements by Arab leaders in countries rocked by the "Arab Spring," however, have rarely been implemented in accordance with the spirit of the documents signed.

The Syrian agreement to end seven months of government crackdowns on its civilian protesters – and increasingly also members of Syria's army who have defected to join them – was worked out over the past week.

The plan calls for stopping all acts of violence “from any source” in the protection of Syrian citizens, releasing those who were arrested “as a result of the current events” and clearing the cities and residential areas “from all armed aspects,” according to the SANA news agency.

Syria's representative to the Arab League, Yousef Ahmad, said in his statement that the state would “continue to issue laws and legislation to further improve daily life and liberties, combat corruption and unemployment, and create new job opportunities, despite the limited resources and the vicious economic sanctions that have been targeting Syria for years, and escalated recently in hopes of making a national solution based on the Syrians' will an impossibility.”

In thanking the Arab League for its efforts, Ahmad, said he hoped the document would form the beginning of an “ongoing, honest and transparent cooperation based on true commitment to Syria's security, stability and unity and the prosperity of its people.”

He stressed the necessity to avoid “foreign interference” and “international forces based on double standards and old colonial concepts that claim to defend human rights in places while ignoring and even permitting the Israeli occupation to commit horrendous crimes and violations against the Palestinian people, the Syrian people in the occupied Golan and the Lebanese people.”

Ahmad added that “some parties” in Syria and abroad had wanted the crisis to escalate, hinting there were foreign attempts to undermine Syrian “national unity” through a “vicious political and media propaganda campaign against Syria.”

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammad Amr Kamel praised the Syrian leadership for choosing to “keep Syrian strong and united.”

Oman's Foreign Affairs Minister Yusuf bin Alawi likewise praised President Bashar al-Assad, citing the Syrian leader's “wisdom and ability to overcome sentiments in the face of a dangerous crisis.”

Both called on Syria's opposition forces and international leaders to “respond to the Arab effort.”

Similar statements were issued by Arab League secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi and the foreign ministers of Iraq, Bahrain, Algeria and the Palestinian Authority.