(AFP) – Jan 10, 2012
CAIRO — Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Tuesday denounced attacks on Arab observers in Syria, in which some were wounded, and said he was holding the government in Damascus responsible for their mission.
"The Arab League denounces the irresponsible action and acts of violence against the League's observers," Arabi said in a statement issued by his office.
"It considers the Syrian government totally responsible for the protection of the members of the observer mission."
Arabi said "some members of the mission were victim of violent attacks carried out by pro-regime elements in Latakia and Deir Ezzor, and from elements considered to be members of the opposition in other areas."
"Some of the members of the observers' mission were wounded and their equipment was badly damaged," he added.
Kuwait said earlier that two of its army officers who are part of the mission in Syria were "slightly hurt" on Monday by "unidentified protesters," in the first reported attack of its kind.
The two soldiers were treated in a hospital following the incident and later discharged in good health, said Kuwait's defence ministry, cited by state news agency KUNA.
Observers from Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates were attacked while heading to the coastal city of Latakia, it added, without providing further details.
In his statement, Arabi said the mission had faced a "tendencious campaign" since an Arab League meeting about Syria on Sunday and warned the mission could be halted if the attacks continue.
"The Arab League is keen on the pursuit of the mission in a secure atmosphere so as not to be obliged to freeze the operation," he said.
Arabi rejected "any pressure or provocation from any party, be it the government of the opposition" or any attempt to undermine the mission.
He also called on the Syrian government and opposition "to stop the campaign of provocation" carried out by elements close to both sides.
"The main goal of the presence of observers on Syrian territory is to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis," said Arabi.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates accused Syria of not facilitating the job of the Arab monitors.
"The job of the observers is getting more difficult day after day... We do not see a commitment from the Syrian side that would allow them" do their job, said UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahayan.
"Sadly, there were attacks on observers, clearly not from the opposition side. This is not a positive indicator," he told reporters in Abu Dhabi.
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