Nabil al-Arabi was appointed head of the Arab League in July 2011
The Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi, seen here in 2011, has formally requested a meeting with UN chief Ban Ki-moon to discuss its plan for resolving the Syria crisis and to ask for the Security Council's support, a senior League official said Tuesday. © Khaled Desouki - AFP/File
Nabil al-Arabi was appointed head of the Arab League in July 2011
AFP
Last updated: January 24, 2012

Arab League seeks meeting with UN chief on Syria

The Arab League has formally requested a meeting with UN chief Ban Ki-moon to discuss its plan for resolving the Syria crisis and to ask for the Security Council's support, a senior League official said Tuesday.

The request was made jointly by the pan-Arab bloc's secretary general, Nabil al-Arabi, and by Qatar's premier, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who chairs a League panel on the crisis, Arab League deputy leader Ahmed bin Helli told AFP.

"A letter has been addressed to Ban Ki-moon requesting a meeting at the UN headquarters to inform him of the Arab plan and ask for the support of the Security Council for this plan," he said.

The surprise initiative, announced after a meeting of Arab foreign ministers on Sunday, called for Syria's President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to his deputy and the formation of a government of national unity within two months.

The League said it would ask for the United Nations to support the new plan for ending the bloodshed in Syria, where the world body estimates more than 5,400 people have been killed since March in a crackdown on pro-democracy dissent.

Damascus swiftly rejected the League's proposals, calling them an "attack" on its national sovereignty and a "flagrant interference" in its internal affairs.

Sheikh Hamad had warned the bloc would go to Security Council if the Damascus government did not implement the initiative, which European powers have welcomed as a potential "game-changer".

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