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Syrian rebel body officially on board Arab League

By Mohammad Ghazal - Mar 26,2014 - Last updated at Mar 26,2014

KUWAIT — Arab leaders have agreed to invite the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to take part in the upcoming Arab League gatherings, starting from the ministerial meeting slated for September.

The decision, adopted by Arab leaders at the March 25-26 summit in Kuwait, entails inviting the coalition’s representatives to take part in all meetings of the Arab summit and is considered an exceptional case to the rules followed at the Arab League, according to a copy of the resolution obtained by The Jordan Times. 

Arab League officials said earlier that the coalition was yet to complete procedures and comply with regulations of the 22-member body before it takes Syria’s seat.

The resolution said the coalition’s participation in the Arab League meetings does not come with any commitments that may affect the sovereignty of member states in the league.

Iraq and Algeria maintained their reservations on the decision, while Lebanon kept its neutral stand.

Saudi Arabia and the SNC on Tuesday criticised for not handing over the seat to the opposition coalition in violation of a decision towards that end by the Arab leaders at last year’s summit in Doha.

The seat became vacant after the Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in the pan-Arab organisation for the regime’s brutality in dealing with dissent.  

In an address Tuesday as a guest, SNC chief Ahmed Jarba, who was not allowed to speak from the chair reserved for Syria, urged Arab states to give the seat to the coalition as soon as possible.

“Leaving Syria’s seat empty sends a message to Assad... ‘Kill, kill the seat is waiting for you once the battle is settled’,” Jarba told the summit leaders.

He even called for Syrian embassies in the Arab capitals to be handed over to the coalition.

The resolution stressed the need for continued efforts to achieve a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

It also called for providing necessary support to countries hosting Syrian refugees and extending humanitarian assistance to them.

The resolution on Syria called on the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities to end the stalemate in talks between the Syrian regime and the opposition and urged for more efforts to take an active step that leads to a political solution through negotiations in Syria.

The Syrian conflict, which entered its fourth year, claimed the lives of about 150,000 Syrians and made millions of Syrians either displaced or refugees in neighbouring countries, according to relief organisations.

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