Syrian spillover worries EU's Ashton

Nov. 13, 2012 at 2:47 PM

CAIRO, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- There is a real threat that civil war in Syria could engulf members of the Arab League, the European Union's foreign policy chief said from Egypt.

Catherine Ashton, the top foreign policy chief for the European Union, addressed delegates from the 22-member Arab League in Cairo.

She stated her concern that the crisis in Syria was beginning to have regional consequences.

"Countries represented here know the challenges of refugees who are fleeing for their lives, the threat of the over-spill of violence (and) the challenges to stability of the region and the concerns that causes," she said.

Israeli forces this week fired on Syrian positions in response to fighting in and around the occupied Golan Heights. Lebanon, meanwhile, has been on edge since a top intelligence official was assassinated in October. Opposition leaders in Beirut suspect Syria played a role in that attack.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council joined the Arab League in recognizing the newly formed Syrian National Council. The Arab League, in a statement translated from Arabic by al-Jazeera, said it recognized the SNC is the "main interlocutor" with the 22-member body. Syria's membership in the league was suspended last year.

"I look forward to this new coalition becoming fully functional and inclusive, subscribing to the principles of human rights and democracy," Ashton said.

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