Last updated: 10 March, 2012

Qatar Foreign Minister calls for Arab, foreign troops in Syria

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday that it was time to send Arab and foreign troops to conflict-stricken Syria.

“The time has come to apply the proposal to send Arab and international troops to Syria,” Sheikh Hamad said during a meeting of top diplomats which was to be joined by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later on Saturday.

The call came amid Western and Arab-led efforts to pile pressure on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, whose crackdown on dissent has cost the lives of more than 8,500 people, according to human rights monitors.

Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo last month agreed to ask the UN Security Council to issue a decision on the formation of a joint UN-Arab peacekeeping force to oversee the implementation of a ceasefire.

Russia and its diplomatic ally China in February vetoed a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Assad regime for the bloodshed in Syria and has shown little sign of shifting its policy since.

But Moscow is now coming under huge pressure from the West and Arab states to start exerting pressure on Assad’s regime and support sanctions over the bloody crackdown.

“When we went to the Security Council, we did not get a resolution because of the Russian-Chinese veto which sent a wrong message to the Syrian regime,” Sheikh Hamad said.

“Our patience and the patience of the world has run out,” he said.