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Suspended from the Arab League, Syria will Talk Only to Individual States

In a rebuke to the organization that suspended it, Syria says it will reject any initiative to restore peace that originates with the Arab League. The Syrian foreign minister said in a statement issued to journalists on Wednesday that talks will be conducted only on a state-to-state basis. The Arab League took the unusual step last November of suspending Syria’s membership in response to President Al-Asad’s bloody crackdown that has now left more than 9,000 Syrians dead. The Arab League is currently meeting in Baghdad where it is expected to endorse the plan put forth by former UN Secretary General Kofi Anan to end the fighting. Al-Asad has already accepted the proposal, but observers on the ground say the fighting is nevertheless continuing and few expect Al-Asad to keep his word. Syria’s opponents are angry that the proposal does not call for Al-Asad to resign, further bolstering the growing belief that notwithstanding the tremendous loss of life, the president’s reign will survive.