Arab summit decries Syria govt. ‘massacres’

Arab leaders meeting in Kuwait call for a political settlement to end Syria’s bloody three-year civil war

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Arab leaders meeting in Kuwait on Wednesday condemned killings carried out by the Syrian government and called for a political settlement to end the ongoing three-year-old civil war.

The final statement issued at the end of the two-day Arab League summit said the crisis would only be solved through political means.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the massacres and the mass killing committed by the Syrian regime's forces against the unarmed people,” said Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah as he read the statement.

“We call for a political solution to the Syrian crisis in accordance with the Geneva One declaration,” he added.

The Arab League also renewed its support to the opposition Syrian National Coalition, saying it is considered the legitimate representative of the people.

The 22-member Arab League convened on Tuesday amid disputes among Arab leaders over issues such as the Syrian crisis and the unrest in Egypt.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz on Tuesday called on the Arab League to grant the Syrian National Coalition, Syria’s main opposition group, a seat at the summit.

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi had earlier said that the Syrian National Coalition will not fill the Syrian regime’s vacant seat at the summit because it has yet to meet the legal requirements.

Salman called for “changing the balance of forces” on the ground in Syria's civil war, saying the crisis there had reached catastrophic proportions.

The final declaration also backed a Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, an Israeli demand that could disrupt peace talks sponsored by the United States.

“We express our total rejection of the call to consider Israel as a Jewish state,” the statement added.

The Palestinians recognized Israel at the start of the peace process in the early 1990s, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted they now acknowledge it as the national homeland of the Jewish people, in a move which would effectively torpedo the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees.

During the summit on Tuesday, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas urged for a Palestinian state according to the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.

He also called for resolving the refugee crisis based on United Nations resolution 194.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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