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LAS mission stabilizing situation in Syria – Russian Foreign Ministry

January 10, 2012, 16:14 UTC+3

The League of Arab States’ (LAS) mission in Syria is stabilizing the situation in that country

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MOSCOW, January 10 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia welcomes the League of Arab States’ (LAS) commitment to prolong the mandate of its observers’ mission in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday in comment of the Arab League’s efforts to settle the Syrian crisis.

“The observers’ mission in Syria is already producing a stabilizing effect on the situation, helping to obtain a true and an unbiased picture of what is going on in Syria,” the ministry said. “The League of Arab States as a common Arab organization is called upon to play a leading part in the consolidation of international and regional efforts for the peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis and for putting an end to any violence.”

“At a Cairo meeting on January 8, the League’s Special committee on Syria heard a report of the League observers’ mission about its work in that country during the first ten days, in line with the protocol signed by the Syrian authorities and the League of Arab States on December 19, 2011,” the ministry said. “The meeting yielded a statement that highly assessed the efforts the mission took in the complicated and dangerous conditions. The statement calls on the Syrian authorities to fulfill immediately and fully their commitments to protect civic population, to ensure the freedom of peaceful rallies and to help the mission.”

“The statement notes partial progress in Damask’s efforts to fulfill these commitments,” the ministry went on. “The mission’s head was instructed to submit a comprehensive report to the League’s secretary general by January 19, or the last day of the mission’s first month in Syria. It is planned that the secretary general of the League of Arab States will hold a preparatory meeting with Syrian opposition representatives in order to outline ways to implement the League’s resolutions on an immediate conference on Syria’s national dialogue.”

Moscow is “satisfied with the League of Arab States’ commitment to prolong the mandate of Arab observers in Syria,” the ministry stressed. “We believe that a key element is the soonest launch of the League-backed dialogue between the Syrian authorities and the opposition that is to yield steps needed to speed up democratic reforms in the country in the interests of the entire nation.”

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad Tuesday accused external forces, including the League of Arab States, of seeking to destabilize the situation in Syria. In his address to the nation broadcast live on the Syrian television, Assad said these forces would not be able to falsify facts and events and blamed the League of Arab States for contributing to discord in his country and seeking to divide it.

Commenting on Damask’s suspended membership in the League, the Syrian president said that making this step this inter-Arab organization has lost its Arab identity. Syria, in his words, would only benefit from suspension of its membership in the Arab League bearing in mind its effort to level losses it has sustained for decades from the relations with Arabs. The League would never be pan-Arab, he added.

Commenting on the League’s observers’ mission, the Syrian leader said it was himself who had come out with the initiative at a meeting with a LAS delegation. In his speech, Assad said he would not “close the door” to any Arab solution that respects Syrian sovereignty.

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