Walid al-Muallem, Syria's foreign minister, condemned Monday the Arab League's decision to suspend the country because of its brutal suppression of protests, saying the move would be "illegal" and a "dangerous step". He said that the decision was "illegitimate" and had been prompted by US incitement.
"The suspension of the Arab League membership is illegal," al-Muallem told a press conference in Damascus.
He also insinuated that the Arab League is in cahoots with the United States, calling the US an "unofficial member" of the league.
"The Arab League said it worked for stopping the violence in Syria and said the US is not a member of the Arab League... but they are an unofficial member," he said.
Al-Muallem expressed his confidence that Russia and China, who are under international pressure to agree to tougher international action against Damascus, would not change their stance on Syria at the UN Security Council.
Reports earlier in the month predicted a reconciliation between the League and Syria.
According to Al Jazeera, the Syrian foreign minister also apologized for attacks on foreign diplomatic missions over the weekend. Government upporters attacked the Qatari and Saudi embassies in Damascus on Saturday night. On Sunday, the Turkish embassy and consulates were attacked.
Addressing Syrians, al-Muallem said: "You should not feel any worry regarding the future. [Syria] will come out stronger due to the will of the people and national unity."
Muallem's statements came as European foreign ministers gathered in Brussels to discuss tightening sanctions against Damascus. The BBC reported that according to a preliminary deal, the sanctions are set to target more individuals associated with the crackdown and to prevent Syria getting funds from the European Investment Bank.
Tags:Syria n protests