Arab league to submit Syria proposals to U.N. council

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The Arab League said on Thursday it will submit to the U.N. Security Council a list of proposals for a June peace conference aimed at ending the conflict in Syria.

The pan-Arab body's Syria committee, which met in Cairo on Thursday, agreed on “several points to help the next international conference in Geneva succeed,” it said in a statement without elaborating.

Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, who heads the Syria committee, and League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi are to “submit the points to the five permanent members of the Security Council.”

Since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011, more than 90,000 people have been killed in the spiraling fighting between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and the rebels battling to overthrow it.

The United States and Russia, which back opposite sides in the conflict, earlier this month proposed a peace conference dubbed Geneva 2 to bring together rebels and representatives of Assad's regime.

Officials who attended Thursday's meeting in Cairo told AFP on condition of anonymity that the committee would submit a plan for a political solution to the conflict.

This would include forming a temporary national unity government and deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force in Syria “to guarantee stability during the transitional period.”

The committee members also agreed to hold an extraordinary meeting of Arab foreign ministers in the first week of June, to define the Arab position ahead of Geneva 2.

Syria's main opposition, the National Coalition, began a three-day meeting in Istanbul on Thursday to discuss peace talks with the regime.

The opposition's agenda for Istanbul is packed with controversial questions, and whether the group can make a final decision on Geneva 2 remains doubtful, opponents say.

It is under pressure from its international backers to talk to the Assad regime, but if it complies it risks losing what little legitimacy it has left on the ground.

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