Syria agrees to Arab League recommendations to end unrest
White House stands tall that Syrian president must step down
After months of steely disregard, the Syrian government has agreed to several measures from the Arab League to end the national unrest there. Parts of the agreement include the removal of tanks and armored vehicles from public streets.
The Syrian government had tentatively approved an Arab plan for dialogue with opposition leaders to end seven months of bloodshed.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told a news conference after the meeting: "We are happy to have reached this agreement and we will be even happier when it is implemented immediately."
The prime minister read a statement saying Syria had agreed to a complete halt to violence, the release of prisoners, removing the military presence from cities and residential areas and allowing the Arab League and media access to report in regards to the progress made.
The Arab League would continue contacts between the Syrian government and the opposition "in preparation for a national dialogue within two weeks."
"They [the Arab League] essentially don't have any guarantees, but what they do have is quite a remarkable commitment from Syria to adhere to several points of a ceasefire which it had previously resisted," Al Jazeera's correspondent Jane Arraf said, reporting at the scene.
The Obama Administration, reiterated its call for Syrian President Assad to step down. "Our position remains that President Assad has lost his legitimacy to rule and should step down," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
"We support all international efforts that are aimed toward convincing the regime to stop attacking its own people."
In addition, United Nations Chief Ban Ki-moon has demanded an immediate end to the Syrian government's crackdown on civilian protesters.
"Killing civilians must stop immediately in Syria," he told a news conference in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. "People have suffered too much for too long and it's an unacceptable situation."
This came as pro-democracy activists reported of at least 21 people were killed in Syria this week.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Syria, unrest, Arab League, President Assad
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