|Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal attends the Arab League Foreign Ministers' emergency meeting on Syria at the headquarters of the Arab League in Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 12, 2011. (Xinhua/Nasser Nouri)
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CAIRO, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Arab League on Saturday decided to suspend the activities of Syrian delegation in the pan-Arab body.
The suspension will take effect on Wednesday, or Nov. 16, Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jasim al-Thani said in an official statement, after an emergency meeting of foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, where the AL headquarters is.
The chairman of the meeting said that he "felt pain about this resolution."
Meanwhile, the AL statement called for its members to withdraw their ambassadors in Syria and urged sanctions on Damascus until a peace plan it brokered is implemented.
The latest AL moves showed the regional body's increasing toughness on the Syrian government in response to the continued violence in the country despite an agreed peace plan earlier this month.
"The Arab League respected the opinions of the Syrian government and the opposition. The way out of this is by dialogue between both sides, "said al-Thani.
"The Syrians have to decide for themselves. We are trying to prepare the climate where they can talk together seriously and quickly to reach a solution for the dilemma in Syria," said al- Thani.
"We wish there will be an agreement between the opposition and the government of Syria," he said. "If this does not happen ... the next move depends on what the Arab countries agree on."
Al-Thani said that the AL had asked all opposition groups of Syria to have a meeting within three days at the AL headquarters in order to reach a consensus.
"We hope that the Syrian government is going to take measures, abide by the Arab initiative, stop bloodshed in the country, set free prisoners and detainees, and try to exercise reforms on solid grounds in a quick pace," he said.
Meanwhile, AL chief Nabil el-Arabi stressed at a press conference that the meeting did not discuss means to impose a no- fly zone on Syria or urge foreign interference.
Shortly after the AL decision, Syrian ambassador to the AL Yusuf Ahmad said that the AL decision is illegal and comes in contravention to the AL principles.
Ahmad told Syria's state-run TV that the suspension decision should be taken unanimously by all member states instead of by the majority. He was referring to the fact that only 18 out of the 22 AL member nations approved the suspension decision, while Lebanon, Yemen and Syria voted against it and Iraq abstained.
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