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Arab League Plan Calls for Assad to Resign

The Arab League's path forward in Syria: Assad will delegate powers to his vice president after national unity government is formed.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/23/2012, 4:16 AM

The Arab League agreed on Sunday on a path forward in Syria that instructs President Bashar al-Assad to delegate powers to his vice president following the formation of a national unity government.

According to a report on CNN, the Arab League called on the Syrian government to start a dialogue with the opposition within two weeks, and for the new government to be formed within two months.

The Arab League’s plan calls for the unity government to prepare to elect a council, within three months, that will write a constitution, CNN reported. It should also prepare for parliamentary and presidential elections.

The plan, details of which were announced by Qatari Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani at a press conference in Cairo, is the clearest statement yet from the Arab League on what it would like to see happen in Syria.

“The president will delegate his first vice president the full power to work with a national unity government to enable it to perform its task in the transitional period,” Al Thani was quoted by CNN as having said.

The Arab League will take its plan to the United Nations in a bid to build international support, the report said. The initiative does not back military intervention in Syria.

The new plan comes after earlier on Sunday, the 22-member Arab League officially voted to extend the mandate of the observer mission to Syria by one month.

The mission would grow in size and will be trained by the United Nations, officials told The Associated Press. The observers' prior mandate officially ended last Thursday.

Some 6,000 protesters have been killed by government troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in the past 10 months, according to various estimates, including some groups affiliated with the United Nations.