By Ria Novosti
The Arab League has worked out a new plan to settle the situation in Syria, based on the crisis resolution experience in Yemen, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani said.
Al-Thani said the plan, presented at an Arab League meeting in Cairo on Sunday, urges embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to hand over power to his deputy, Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa. It also envisions the formation of a national unity government led by a person acceptable to all parties in Syria within two months.
Burhan Ghalyoun, leader of the Syrian National Council, said: “We support the League’s decisions in principle, but will thoroughly study the documents to form our final and balanced attitude toward them.”
He said the League “recognized the Syrian nation’s right to resistance, democracy and democratic elections.”
In line with the plan, the national unity government should “proclaim the establishment of a democratic political system as its goal,” and Syria should hold democratic and transparent elections monitored by Arab and foreign observers within six months.
The unity government is also urged to restore order through reforming security forces, and ensure that a new constitution is drafted, which should be approved by a nationwide referendum.
The plan envisions that an independent commission will be set up to investigate crimes against civilians.
“This plan is similar to the plan for Yemen, where there was certain progress,” the Qatari premier said.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed in November 2011 to hand over power to his vice president in exchange for immunity from prosecution for him and his family as part of a deal with the Yemeni opposition brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The Arab ministers plan to seek approval of the proposals in the UN Security Council.
Russia, a longtime ally of Syria, has been vehemently opposing any kind of a crackdown on Assad’s regime, which has been struggling since last March to quell the wave of political protests that engulfed the country.
At least 5,000 have been killed in clashes between the government and the protesters in Syria, according to UN estimates. Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with al-Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.
The Arab League, a group of 22 countries, has suspended Syria’s membership in November and negotiated dispatching an observer mission to the country. The 50-strong mission, which arrived in late December, has so far failed to stop or at least decrease the bloodshed.
Russia has repeatedly insisted that the Western drive for a stronger crackdown on Syria is preparation for a “Libyan scenario.”
Rebels ousted and killed long-standing Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October after a months-long military standoff in which they received assistance from NATO forces.