BEIRUT: The Arab League should consider sending troops to Syria as proposed by Qatar’s emir, Amr Moussa, the bloc’s former secretary general, said on Sunday.
"This is a very important proposal," Moussa said in Beirut on the sidelines of a UN-organized conference on democracy in the Arab world.
"The Arab League should begin to study this possibility and begin consultations on this issue," said Moussa, who is now a candidate for Egypt’s presidency.
In an interview to be aired on US television, Qatar’s emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani said he favors sending Arab troops to Syria to stop a bloody crackdown on 10 months of democracy protests.
Sheikh Hamad is the first Arab leader to publicly call for Arab troops to be deployed in Syria, where the UN estimates more than 5,000 people have been killed in the crackdown since mid-March last year.
The comments by the emir, whose wealthy nation once enjoyed cordial ties with Damascus, come with the Arab League set to review the work of its Syria monitoring mission later this month, amid increasing concern about its failure to end the violence.
According to a UN official, 400 people have been killed since the beginning of the Arab League mission to the crisis-hit country on December 26.
Speaking to reporters at the "Reform and Transitions to Democracy" organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Moussa reiterated the widespread call for an end to violence in Syria.
"We are all against the use of force against citizens. Bloodshed does not bode well," he said, describing the situation in Syria as "dangerous."