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Arab League proposes joint UN peacekeeping force in Syria

The Arab League met in Cairo on Sunday and announced a "peacekeeping joint force" with the United Nations aimed at brokering a ceasefire in Syria.

Arab league 2012 02 12Enlarge
Arab League secretary general Nabil Elaraby and Qatari Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani attend a meeting with Arab foreign ministers in Cairo on February 12 , 2012. (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Arab League met Sunday in Cairo and called for a joint Arab-United Nations peacekeeping mission to end the 11-month conflict in Syria, the BBC reported. It suspended Syria late last month.

The League also proposed measures to "stop trading with the Syrian regime, except those directly affecting [its] citizens."

As in the past, it also called for Syrian military forces to withdraw and an immediate end to the killing of civilians, the New York Times reported.

On the diplomatic front, Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said a joint peacekeeping force “should go hand-in-hand with a political track.”

Damascus "categorically rejected" the resolution, said a Syrian envoy.

It added that the league's statements reflect "the state of hysteria affecting some Arab governments, especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia, after Qatar's failure to pass a UN resolution that allows foreign intervention in Syria," CNN reported.

The move come a week after Russia and China vetoed that UN Security Council resolution aimed at ending the violence in Syria.

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Reuters reported Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal asked the ministers: "How long will we stay as onlookers to what is happening to the brotherly Syrian people, and how much longer will we grant the Syrian regime one period after another so it can commit more massacres against its people?"

"At our meeting today I call for decisive measures, after the failure of the half-solutions," he said.

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Meanwhile the bombardment continued Sunday on numerous Syrian cities, including Homs and Zabadani.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 26 people were killed Sunday, including 14 in Homs and eight government soldiers in Hama.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120212/arab-league-proposes-joint-un-peacekeeping-force-syria