Syria to receive Arab League committee

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CAIRO: Syria has agreed to receive next week an Arab League committee that was set up after Arab states called for an end to violence and for dialogue between the government and the opposition, Egypt’s state news agency MENA said on Thursday.

Arab foreign ministers, who met this week in Cairo to discuss the crisis in Syria, called on both sides to hold dialogue within 15 days. They formed a committee of five ministers to visit the country.

"After the Arab League council’s decision on the situation in Syria, Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby called the Syrian leadership and asked for a response," MENA quoted the League’s assistant secretary-general, Wagih Hanafy, as saying.

"The Syrian response welcomed receiving the committee," Hanafy was quoted a saying. The group is due to travel to Damascus on Wednesday, the agency added.

Syria is witnessing a wave of protests demanding an end to 41 years of repressive Assad family rule that was met by a violent crackdown from authorities, leaving hundreds dead.

The Arab League committee is headed by Qatar and is made up of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Oman, Algeria and Sudan, alongside League head Elaraby, the news agency said.

Arab foreign ministers stopped short of suspending Syria from the Arab League as demanded by Syrian protesters suggesting a national dialogue instead.

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