Arab League chief criticises Syria talks snub

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al Arabi criticises that representatives of the pan-Arab were not invited to participate latest Syria talks in Vienna, Austria

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Nabil al Arabi, Secretary-General of the Arab League, speaks during a news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini following their meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt on November 3 2015

Updated Nov 4, 2015

Nabil al Arabi, the Arab League Secretary General, criticised top leaders on Tuesday over why Arab League representatives had not been called for the critic second round of Syria talks on the ongoing Syria crisis.

“I don't know why the Arab League was not invited to take part in the talks,” al Arabi said at a joint press conference with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini.

“The Syrian issue has been a primary focus of the Arab League's attention in recent years," he said.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, Turkish foreign ministers, their Saudi counterpart, along with Western diplomats gathered with Russia and its regional supporters, including Iran for talks over Syria’s future last Thursday and Friday in Vienna.

The talks in Vienna was the first time Iran and Saudi Arabia - regional rivals who have been divided in critical role during the ongoing Syria war - met around the same table, since the clashes broken out in Syria in March 2011.

US urges Russia over Syrian opposition to attend talks

The US State Department announced on Tuesday that it was premature for Moscow to accept Syrian opposition to talks in Russia.

Russian media said that Syrian government officials and members of the country's dissected opposition could gather in Moscow next week.

"We think it's premature," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau stated.

She said that firstly as nations we should focus on what was compromised on last Syria talks in Vienna.

Following the last Syria meeting, major world powers decided to hold another meeting in two weeks, in an attempt to find a political solution for the Syrian war.

The US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab nations have insisted that Assad must go and that he could not play a long-term role in Syria’s future, but Russia and Iran said that Assad should not be forced to give up power and that Syrians’ should decide their own political future.

The war in Syria has, to date, claimed the lives of an estimated 250,000 people, most of whom were killed by regime air strikes and indiscriminate barrel bombings from helicopters on civilian areas.

Approximately half the country’s population has been displaced, with an estimated 6.7 million people seeking refuge elsewhere in Syria and 5 million moving into neighbouring countries such as Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

This year alone, around half a million refugees, mostly Syrians, have entered Europe, hoping to gain asylum in economically well-off EU countries.

TRTWorld and agencies