Arab League: No Arab cover for U.S. strike against Syria

Ambassador Nassif Hatta, spokesperson for Arab League secretary general, denying rumors about an Arab cover for the possible U.S. strike against Syria.
 
“The Arab League does not give green lights. We talk according to international law about the importance of the Syrian crisis from an Arab perspective, and from a moral, political and strategic perspective,” Hatta said in a press statement on Sunday.
 
He added that Arab foreign ministers are discussing all repercussions of the Syrian issue, pointing out that this crisis is very important in light of the developments after the use of chemical weapons in East Ghouta in Damascus, which claimed the lives of hundreds of the Syrians.
 
“This crime poses questions for the Arab ministerial meeting on Sunday about how to save Syria from this tragedy,” he said, adding that the main objective of the meeting is to go to the Geneva II Peace Conference and make it a success.
 
In response to a question about remarks attributed to U.S. officials about an Arab League cover for the strike on Syria, he said that there is no such political or nonpolitical cover. “The Arab League stance is based on its resolution of 27 August to go to the Security Council and remind it of its basic responsibility to take deterrent measures against this tragic crisis,” he said.
 
On the position of the House of Commons that rejected a military strike against Syria, and on whether President Barack Obama’s resorting to Congress could mean holding back or postponing the strike, he said that President Obama implied that he has the right to carry out a limited military operation called “surgical strikes,” as had happened in Kosovo, and that resorting to the Congress was for domestic political reasons. “But he expects the Congress to approve,” he said.
 
On the Arab ministerial meeting, he said it would focus on the resolution that which was released less than a week ago, stressing the need to hold accountable those responsible for the use of chemical weapons, and bringing them to the International Criminal Court. “The findings of the UN inspection team would throw more light on this crime,” he said.
 
On whether the Arab League is mandating the United States by going to the Security council, he said this is not true. “The Arab League deals with an international organization within the framework of international legitimacy,” he said. “Others are free to interpret this in their own way if they want.”
 
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm