Syria to accelerate reforms, formulate plan with AL to defuse tension   2011-11-02 20:19:14 FeedbackPrintRSS

DAMASCUS, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Syria announced Tuesday evening that it agreed on a "final plan" initiated by the Arab League (AL) ministerial committee to help defuse tension in Syria, signaling its resolve to go on with reforms to meet the protestors' demands.

The AL ministerial committee is expected to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday in Cairo with the participation of Syria's envoy to the AL, Youssef Ahmed, during which, according to the Syrian account, an official announcement would be made regarding the final plan agreed upon by the two sides.

It has been reported that Damascus has made some amendments to the plan and incorporated its own considerations into it, including mainly the need of a complete halt of media campaign launched against Syria coupled with strict measures to stop funding of alleged terrorists and weapon smuggling across its borders.

Syria has also agreed to conduct dialogue with the opposition and make quick and radical reforms. However, the contentious issue is still the location to hold the proposed dialogue, as Damascus is showing unwavering determination to convene it in Damascus in presence of international observers from China, Russia, Brazil and India.

Amid the positive signals Damascus has sent was an announcement that it would soon release from jails hundreds of prisoners who, it said, "haven't been involved in homicide against civilians, army members or security agents."

Media reports have claimed that more than 12,000 Syrians have been arrested in the country since the eruption of protests in mid- March.

"It's a very good step," said Sana Mahairi, 35, a housewife. " Let's give reforms a chance ... Let's give the Arab League's plan a chance ... We are fed up and want to live, as in the past, peacefully," she said.

Qadri Jamil, a member of the opposition Popular Front for Change and Liberation, told Xinhua that Syria and the AL would probably work out a deal to end the crisis especially in light of the NATO clear-cut position made Monday that ruled out any possibility of military intervention in Syria.

"It's clear that the Libyan scenario would not be repeated in Syria ... Some countries inside the AL are against Libya-like measures," he said, adding that "it would be foolish for the AL to adopt any anti-Syria decision following the NATO statement."

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said Tuesday in an interview with the Russian Today TV channel that some groups in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are financing "terrorists " in Syria, adding that "this should come to an end."

Mekdad said about 1,150 Syrian policemen and security agents were killed by "terrorists," warning that Muslim extremists and Salafis wanted to wage a civil war in Syria.

In yet another promising measure, the national committee is still going on with debates in Damascus to write a new constitution, which has been a pressing demand by protestors.

One of the main demands the Syrian protestors raised was amending the constitution, particularly canceling section eight in the constitution which states that the Baath party is the leader of the nation and the society.

Spokesman of the committee Sam Della told local media that all items in the constitution are adjustable, "but this doesn't mean that all items would be modified."

He said the article eight "is the most controversial item ... and it's axiomatic that it would be reviewed or omitted."

An economic forum was held recently in Damascus to discuss ways of enhancing dialogue on national issues and crystallize a common vision on economic and social reforms.

All reforms in Syria should be done simultaneously at political, administrative, economic, social and judicial levels, said a statement issued at the forum.

Participants have also agreed on the necessity to speed up the pace of reforms as soon as possible.

Editor: Fang Yang
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