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Syrian gov't rejects AL's decision to grant seat to opposition
The 24th Arab League summit on Tuesday granted Damascus' seat to the exiled Syrian opposition coalition, a move rejected by Syrian government and some domestic opposition parties.
"It is part of the restoration of legitimacy that the people of Syria have long been robbed of," said Moaz al-Khatib, resigned head of exiled Syrian opposition coalition.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Arab leaders rushed through a declaration in Doha and granted Damascus' seat at the Arab League to the Syrian opposition, acknowledging the right of the member countries to provide all means of self-defense to the Syrian opposition.
Khatib took up Damascus' seat at the summit, calling for more political and financial support to the Syrian opposition.
"We call for an end to the bloodshed. We want liberty, we wish to steer the country away from further destruction," Khatib said when addressing the meeting which began on Tuesday morning.
He said that he had requested U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to use NATO patriot surface-to-air missiles on the Syrian- Turkish border to safeguard Syrian civilians.
Besides, the summit called on the United Nations to follow suit by stripping Syria of its seat in its body and handing over the chair to the opposition coalition. However, such a move would definitely be vetoed by Russia, Syria's main international ally.
The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in November 2011. Earlier this month, some countries, mainly oil-rich Qatar and Saudi Arabia, led a push to invite the Syrian opposition to occupy the seat of Damascus at the pan-Arab body.
The Arab League's decision to grant Damascus' seat to the exiled opposition coalition was rejected by the Syrian government and the domestic opposition.
It legitimizes terrorist acts that are committed overtly and blatantly against the Syrians, their institutions and properties, the state-run Al-Thawra newspaper said in a commentary.
The pan-Arab body is taking pains to grant the opposition coalition a "forged birth certificate," it added.
Syria's former ambassador to the Arab League Yousef al-Ahmed also slammed the AL's move, telling the pan-Arab Al-Mayadeen TV that the group aims to distance Syria away from the Arab's meeting so that they could implement their schemes against Syria.
He charged that the Arab body has made itself a part of the conflict and not the solution.
"Syria is not concerned about any decision by the Arab League as long as it doesn't attend the meetings. So any decision would be null and void and of no legal effect," he said.
He also stressed that the Arab League's previous remarks about arming the rebels in Syria is dangerous and blatantly infringe upon the pan-Arab body's charters and internal system.
On the other side, Damascus-based opposition group, the Building Syria State party, said whoever takes Damascus' seat in the league will be "partner with those that want to fragment Syria. "
Meanwhile, Tarek al-Ahmad, an opposition figure, told Xinhua that what happened in the Arab League summit was "a political farce."
Al-Ahmad said "the Arab states want to give a cover about what is happening on ground," referring to reports about the direct involvement of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in arming and bankrolling the Syrian rebels.
[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 26Mar13]
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