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AL urges Syrian president to delegate power to deputy

Updated: 2012-01-23 10:25
( Xinhua)

CAIRO - The Arab League (AL) on Sunday urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to delegate power to his first vice president and a national unity government in a fresh initiative aimed at ending the political crisis in the country.

According to the initiative, announced after a meeting of Arab foreign ministers, a national unity government should be formed within two months with the participation of the opposition to eventually prepare for free presidential and parliamentary elections under the supervision of Arab countries and the international community.

The plan urged the Syrian government to prepare a draft constitution to be approved through a popular referendum, demanding Assad delegate full powers to enable the national unity government to act in the transitional period.

The national unity government is to announce upon its formation that its first aim is to establish a free democratic government under which all citizens get equal rights regardless of their classes, religions or political affiliations.

According to the initiative, the national unity government should regain security and stability in Syria, reorganizing the police system to preserve and enhance social order, and all Arab countries should support the new unity government.

The initiative, which the AL hopes will get the blessing of the United Nations, also asked for establishing an independent institution to investigate all violations against the citizens.

In a resolution after the meeting, AL urged the Syrian authority to stop all violent acts against citizens, release all political prisoners, pull back all military forces from cities and allow all Arab and international media to freely move in Syria and verify the incidents on the ground.

The Arab foreign ministers also decided to extend the observers' mission in Syria, provide them with technical and financial assistance, and cooperate with the General Secretary of the United Nations in this regard.

The AL urged the Syrian government and all the opposition sides to start a political dialogue sponsored by AL within two weeks.

Meanwhile, the resolution calls on the chief of the AL to appoint a special envoy to follow the political process.

"According to the AL initiative, the Assad regime no longer exists," said Burhan Ghalioun, head of the opposition Syrian National Council, in Cairo at a press conference after AL's meeting on Sunday.

"The initiative asserted the collective Arab countries recognition of the Syrian people rights for a democratic and elected government," said Ghalioun, adding that the report of the Arab observers showed that the Syrian government didn' t implement its pledges.

Syria was plunged into a turmoil in mid-March last year when anti-government protests broke out. It signed the AL observer protocol on December 19, 2011 in Cairo after the AL threatened to take the issue to the United Nations Security Council.

The AL observers are monitoring the situation in Syria as part of the AL peace initiative to end the months-long turmoil in Syria.

The Syrian government says that the turmoil in Syria is plotted by terrorists and foreign-backed armed gangs. It said more than 2,000 army and security personnel were killed during the months-long unrest, while the United Nations put the death toll in the country at more than 5,000.