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Arab League rejects Ban call to end Syria arms supplies

23 april 2013, 16:29
0
UN leader Ban Ki-moon appealed Monday for an end to outside arms supplies to rival sides in the Syrian war but the Arab League chief said that would not be possible, AFP reports.

Ban pleaded for a halt during talks with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani, whose country has been accused by Damascus of arming Syrian rebels.

"The secretary general called for stemming the supply of arms to any side in the Syrian conflict. More arms would only mean more deaths and destruction," said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.

But Al-Arabi turned down the idea when he spoke to reporters after the meeting.

"If there is a political settlement or a beginning of a political settlement, that could happen but at this point I don't think it is possible," he said.

"The government is getting arms from certain parties so if the other side gets some arms from certain parties I think you can get some form of a balance there," the Arab League chief said. Qatar's prime minister did not speak after the meeting.

An Arab League meeting in Doha last month gave member states the "right" to offer Syrians all means of self-defense, including arms supplies.

Ban, Al-Arabi and Al-Thani also discussed the deadlock in efforts to halt the conflict, now into its third year and with a death toll of "well over" 70,000 people, according to the UN.

Ban, Al-Arabi and UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi held a separate meeting later. There has been speculation that Brahimi could step down.

"Something has to be done, but no specific ideas came," Al-Arabi said, while insisting that all sides are still "supporting the joint mission" by Brahimi because the United Nations and Arab League have the "same objective" to end the conflict and establish a democratic government.

On Brahimi's future, Al-Arabi said: "We are very happy with him and I repeated that upstairs now."

After the meeting, Ban issued a statement in favor of Brahimi's efforts at reaching a political solution.

With both Brahimi and Al-Arabi the secretary general discussed "ways to help the Syrian parties start a political process leading to an end to violence and a political transition to a new Syria in which the rights of all of its people and communities are protected," Nesirky said.

Ban "reiterated his resolve to do all in his powers to help end the tragedy in Syria" as well as "his call on the Security Council to find unity and put all of its weight behind a political solution in Syria and Mr. Brahimi's efforts to that end," he added.

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