Last updated: 4 September, 2011

Arab League chief says Syria accepts visit

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said on Sunday that Syria has agreed to host him for a probable visit this week to the strife-torn country.

“I have been informed that Syria welcomes” the visit which would take place “probably this week,” Arabi told a news conference at his pan-Arab organisation’s headquarters in Cairo.

“I will express Arab concerns and I will listen,” he said.

Syria said last week that an August 27 statement passed by Arab League foreign minister on the country’s bloodshed contained “unacceptable and biased language,” leaving Arabi to await a green light for a proposed visit.

In a diplomatic note seen by AFP, Syria’s delegation said the declaration was issued “despite the meeting having closed with an agreement that no statement would be published or statement made to the press.”

Damascus said it would act as if the statement had never been published.

The Arab League announced an initiative aimed at solving the crisis in Syria where more than 2,200 people have been killed in anti-regime protests since mid-March, to be delivered in person by its secretary general, Arabi.

The 22-member organisation’s foreign ministers called for an “end to the spilling of blood and (for Syria) to follow the way of reason before it is too late.”

The foreign ministers also called for respecting “the right of the Syrian people to live in security and of their legitimate aspirations for political and social reforms.”