Arab League chief: No consensus yet for Syria return

Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit. (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2019
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Arab League chief: No consensus yet for Syria return

  • The Arab League is due to hold a summit meeting at the end of March in Tunisia

BEIRUT: The Arab League said on Monday there was no consensus yet among member states that may allow the reinstatement of Syria’s membership which was suspended in 2011 over its crackdown on protesters at the start of the civil war.

In a big diplomatic boost for Assad, the UAE reopened its embassy in Damascus in December, saying it aimed to normalize ties and curb risks of regional interference in “Arab, Syrian affairs” — an apparent reference to Iran and Turkey.

But Arab League Secretary-General and former Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, speaking during a visit to Beirut, said there was no consensus yet on Syria being allowed back into the League.

“I follow this subject very closely and I do not yet observe conclusions that lead to the consensus that we are talking about and that may lead to an (Arab) foreign ministers meeting in which they announce the end of the difference and therefore call for Syria to return to occupy the seat,” he said.

The Arab League is due to hold a summit meeting at the end of March in Tunisia.

Asked about the prospects for Syria’s readmission, Aboul Gheit noted that Arab League foreign ministers were due to hold two meetings before the summit.

“But the matter is not time, the matter is will. The matter is consensus among the states,” he said.

“For Syria to return, there must be consensus.”


Sudan government arrests opposition leaders ahead of protest

Updated 24 min 15 sec ago
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Sudan government arrests opposition leaders ahead of protest

  • The Sudanese Congress Party says government arrested leaders of Umma and Communist parties, among others
  • The demonstrators want the President Al-Bashir to resign

CAIRO: A Sudanese opposition party says more than 10 opposition leaders have been arrested ahead of the latest day of protests urging President Omar al-Bashir to resign.
In a statement, the Sudanese Congress Party says security forces "pre-empted" demonstrations by arresting the deputy head of the Umma Party, Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi; the party's Secretary-General Sara Naqdallah; Communist Party leader Mokhtar al-Khatib, and others.
Later, police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds who had gathered to march, near the Arab Market area in Khartoum.
Sudan has been rocked by a wave of protests since December calling on al-Bashir, who seized power in a 1989 military coup, to step down. Activists say at least 57 people have been killed, but the government tally stands at 30.