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OIC wants dialogue in Syria

Dec. 29, 2011 at 1:36 PM   |   Comments

Will Arab League Monitors Make a Difference in Syria?
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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Damascus is called on to resolve the situation in the country through dialogue and implement promised reforms, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation said.

An observer mission from the Arab League is on the ground in Syria to ensure Damascus is honoring a deal to pull its forces from the streets.

Arab monitors said following a tour of the restive city of Homs that the area was disheveled but "no clashes" were observed. Critics charge Damascus is selective in what it allows the monitoring team to observe.

A member of the opposition Syrian National Council told al-Arabiya on condition of anonymity that its leaders were working to address the monitoring mission. The Arab broadcaster reported at least four soldiers were killed in clashes by defectors in the southern province of Deraa and at least two civilians were killed while monitors were on the ground.

The OIC said it condemned "all violent acts" in Syria, including a series of explosions that rocked Damascus in recent days.

"The OIC reiterated its call for the Syrian crisis to be resolved through dialogue, for the reforms promised by the Syrian leadership to be implemented in order to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, and for security and stability to return to Syria," the group said in a statement.

Mark Toner, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, added during his regular press briefing that it was premature to assess the work of the Arab monitors.

"We need to let this mission get up and running, let them do their job, and then let them give their judgment," he said.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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