A man reads newspapers at a cafe in Damascus on April 29, 2011
A man reads newspapers at a cafe in Damascus . Damascus slammed the Syrian opposition for its "theft" of the country's Arab League seat, calling it a "legal, political and moral crime." © Louai Beshara - AFP/File
A man reads newspapers at a cafe in Damascus on April 29, 2011
AFP
Last updated: March 26, 2013

Damascus slams Arab League seat transfer to rebels

Damascus slammed the Syrian opposition for its "theft" of the country's Arab League seat, calling it a "legal, political and moral crime."

The comments, published in pro-regime newspapers, came shortly before opposition leader Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib addressed an Arab League summit in Doha, as the seat was handed to the opposition.

"This theft that the sheikhdom of Qatar and other collaborator, treacherous, backward Arab regimes have committed by handing the Doha-sponsored Coalition the Syrian state's membership... is a legal, political and moral crime," the Tishreen newspaper wrote.

The Syrian state under President Bashar al-Assad "still exists in its people, army, institutions, services, and its legislative, executive and judicial authorities that exercise (the country's) full sovereignty", the daily added.

"Shame on you, Arab brothers."

Syria's membership in the Arab League was suspended in November 2011 and the organisation had said it would hand over the seat to the opposition once it took steps to set up an executive body.

Set up in Doha in November 2012, the Coalition has been recognised by dozens of states and organisations as legitimate representative of the Syrian people, and earlier this month it elected its first rebel prime minister.

The Al-Watan newspaper said the Arab League's decision to hand over the seat "opens the way to hold accountable any state that hands the embassy to opponents", while blaming foreign states for creating dissent against Assad's regime.

The opposition's takeover of the Syrian seat "will pose a danger of the gravest kind to international and diplomatic relations", it said, adding that the "biggest losers... will be the Thani clan (of Qatar)... and the Saudi clan".

Damascus "is not affected at all by the loss of its seat... because this league does not represent Syria's beliefs", the daily added.

The Arab League was "a heavy burden on the Syrian people and state, and on the Syrian collective conscience", Al-Watan said.

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