Iraq on Sunday slammed the Arab League's decision to suspend Syria as unacceptable while also calling on Damascus to open dialogue with the opposition.
"Suspending Syria's membership in the Arab League came in an unacceptable way," Iraq government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said on Iraqiya television.
Iraq was the only country to abstain from the Saturday vote to suspend Syria's membership in the Arab League over its crackdown on dissent which has left more than 3,500 people dead, according to UN figures.
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Eighteen countries voted in favour of Syria's suspension from the pan-Arab body while Yemen, Lebanon and Syria voted against the decision.
"This decision was was not taken against other countries that have bigger crisis than the Syrian crisis," said Dabbagh.
Libya is the only other country that has been suspended from the regional bloc since a wave of pro-reform protests swept across the Arab world this year.
"The stability and security of Syria is important to Iraq, and the Iraqi government has called its Syrian counterpart to dialogue with the opposition, and to carry out the requested reforms.
"We want complete freedom for (Syrians), but not in this forced way that moves the Syrian issue ... to internationalisation," he said. "This issue is very dangerous."