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Arab countries still at odds over fate of Syria''s Arab League seat

KUWAIT, March 26 (KUNA) -- Arab countries remain at odds as to whether Syrian opposition should occupy Syria's seat in the Arab League despite a resolution by the 2013 Arab summit in Doha, Qatar, recognizing the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces as Syrians' legitimate representative.
In their Doha summit, the leaders of the Arab countries welcomed the occupation of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces of the seat of Syria in the Arab League, and to recognize it as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
The resolution also assigned the Arab League's Secretariat to continue consultations with the national coalition over this move. Algeria and Iraq voiced reservations over the decision, while Lebanon adopted a non-interference policy vis-a-vis Syria-related moves.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, whose speech in the 25th Arab summit in Kuwait was not listed in the official agenda distributed to the press, expressed astonishment that the seat of Syria stil vacant.
"We are astonished why we do not see the coalition delegation occupy its normal place in the seat of Syria, specially that it was given this right in the Doha summit," said Prince Salman.
He called for "correcting this situation ... to send a strong message to the international community to change the way it is dealing with the Syrian crisis," which killed some 140,000 people and displaced millions others.
Prince Salman said ending the conflict in Syria "requires the change of balance of power on the ground and give the Syrian opposition the support they need." The Saudi senior official attributed his remarks to the failure of the international community to help the Syrian people in the face of Syrian regime's killing machine, specially following the collapse of Geneva II negotiations, held last January.
National coalition chief Ahmad Al-Jarba, echoing Prince Salman, said keeping the Syria seat vacant was sending the wrong message to the Syrian regime.
"Keeping the Syria seat vacant send a clear message to (Bashar) Al-Assad who will understand it as a means to kill and that the seat is waiting for after you end your war," he said.
"The Syrians are wondering if the West fails to support us with weapons, what is stopping our (Arab) brothers from deciding over our seat?" he wondered.
Al-Jarba also said the Syrian embassies in Arab capitals should be handed over to the national coalition after the regime lost legitimacy.
However, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for stoppling the supply of weapons to all parties in Syria.
"I affirm that there is no military solution for the (Syrian) conflict, therefore I appeal again to stop supply of weapons to all parties," Lakhdar Brahimi said in a speech on behalf of Ban at the 25th Arab summit.
His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in his speech while chairing the summit, said the Syrian conflict was destroying every sign of life and displacing around half of the Syrian population, including 5.5 million children.
"We reiterate our call on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to live up to its responsibility to restore international peace and security, and to end this crisis," he said.
"We feel the suffering of our brothers (in Syria) and work hard to alleviate their suffering," said His Highness the Amir, noting Kuwait's hosting of two donor conferences for the Syrian people, which succeeded in collecting USD four billion in pledges.
President of the last Arab summit, Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, said the stubborn Syrian government has stalled all peace negotiations to end the crisis and has kept committing crimes against the people, who "suffered enough." (end) bs KUNA 261005 Mar 14NNNN