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Russia criticises move giving al-Assad's Arab League seat to Syrian opposition

January 30, 2014 at 3:05 pm

The Russian permanent representative at the UN, Vitaly Churkin, has said that giving al-Assad’s seat in the Arab League to the Syrian opposition “would not be helpful” to a peaceful settlement, the Russia Today website reported.

“This means that the Arab League has left the process of looking for a political settlement for the crisis,” Russia Today reported Churkin as saying.

Churkin pointed out that the move was illegal as Syrian membership to the Arab League had not been rescinded, but frozen. “Freezing Syrian membership to the Arab League from the beginning proves that the organisation was not interested in a serious negotiated solution,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iran criticised the move saying: “This ushers in the end of the role of the Arab League in the region.”

The Arabic language Iranian TV station, Al-Alam, reported the assistant to Iran’s foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdul-lahyan, as saying: “The hasty measures of some countries towards Syria and the giving of its seat to the opposition establishes a dangerous model in the Arabic world.”

He said that this measure could be replicated regarding any other members of the Arab League. “This undermines the role of the organisation in the region,” he also said.