Arab League foreign ministers to meet on Syria

Joel Gulhane
4 Min Read
Arab League foreign ministers Meeting (Photo by Mohamed Omar)
Arab League foreign ministers Meeting (Photo by Mohamed Omar)
Arab League foreign ministers Meeting
(Photo by Mohamed Omar)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy voiced his rejection of a possibility of a US led military strike against Syria ahead of an emergency meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers at the Arab League set to take place on Sunday afternoon.

Fahmy’s comments came just moments after US President Barack Obama announced on Saturday evening that he was prepared to launch “military action against Syrian regime targets” adding that he is also seeking the approval of the US Congress.

The ministry said that Fahmy, in his interview with MBC, said the US should “shoulder the burden of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan” saying that Obama referred the decision to Congress to relieve himself of having to make the decision.  The US president said previously that the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict is a “red line”.

Obama believes that the US has adequate amounts of intelligence information and evidence to hold the Syrian regime responsible for a chemical attack on 21 August and he does not intend to wait for the results of the United Nations chemical weapons inspectors before launching a military operation.

The ministry statement also said that Fahmy “sees no great variation in the views of Egypt’s allies in the region” when it comes to launching a military strike against Syria. He added that this issue would show that allies have differences of opinions and that they should respect each other’s views.

Over the last year the Egyptian stance, along with that of the other ‘Friends of Syria’ nations, was that only a political solution can bring peace to Syria. Obama and others who have supported a military strike in recent weeks have said that the strike is meant to punish Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime for using chemical weapons and is not intended to swing the momentum of the conflict in favour of the rebels.

Fahmy along with other foreign ministers from Arab League member states are expected to meet at the league’s headquarters on Sunday at 6pm to discuss the Syrian crisis. Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil El-Araby said on Sunday morning that the Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba had made a request to address the foreign ministers.

The Arab League delegates met last week and held the “Syrian regime fully responsible for this heinous crime.” The delegates also called on the international community and the United Nations Security Council to “assume its responsibilities and overcome the differences” in order to hold the regime responsible for “this crime.”

The Syrian regime denies using chemical weapons and has vowed to defend itself if attacked, while also blaming the use of chemical weapons on what it described as “terrorist” rebels.

Iran, one of the Al-Assad regime’s strongest allies in the region, has vowed that any attack against Syria would have “harsh consequences.” Last Thursday Iran’s army chief said, “any military action against Syria will drive the Zionists [Israel] to the edge of fire,” in a statement published by the official IRNA news agency.  He also warned that the ensuing conflict would not be limited to the region.

The Syrian conflict has raged on for more than two years and has claimed the lives of over 100,000 people. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, as of 29 August there were over 1.8 million registered refugees who are included in the ‘total persons of concern’ figure which is just under 2 million.


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Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane
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