Prince Saud announces withdrawal of Kingdom’s Arab League monitors from Syria

January 22, 2012

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal announced the end of the Kingdom’s participation in the Arab League monitoring mission in Syria today, citing the lack of cooperation and good faith efforts on the part of the Syrian government. Addressing a meeting of the Arab League’s Foreign Ministers Council in Cairo, Prince Saud stated, “Based on the Syrian government’s official endorsement of the Arab League’s proposed solution, we agreed to take part in the Arab monitors team, whose mission is not to work as negotiators or mediators but to monitor the Syrian government’s commitment of strictly and clearly carrying out the plan . . . Regrettably, Syrian authorities did not live up to any of the articles of the Arab plan. Not only that, but [they were] quick to accuse Arab leaders and their countries of conspiracy against Syria. At this point, we ask whether it is genuine Arab behavior that a ruler kills his people or that an Arab army’s mission is to devastate its own people instead of protecting them.”

Prince Saud continued, “This situation couldn’t continue and [we could not] accept to become false witnesses or to be exploited by whoever to justify the crimes committed against the Syrian people or to cover those crimes.” Therefore, he declared, “I announce the withdraw of the Kingdom’s Arab League monitors from Syria in protest against the Syrian government’s failure to comply with any of the elements of the Arab plan which aims to save dear Syrian blood.”

The Saudi Foreign Minister advocated continued, concerted action to pressure the Syrian government to end the violence against its citizens. “We call on our Arab colleagues to remain seriously and credibly committed to their Foreign Ministers Council’s resolution of imposing sanctions on the Syrian government, to mount pressure on it and coerce it to be truly – and not just verbally – committed to its pledges,” he said. “We also call on the world community, including our brothers in the Islamic countries and our friends in Russia, China, Europe and the United States, to shoulder their responsibility according to the Arab solution and mount every possible pressure to convince the Syrian government of the importance of the prompt and comprehensive implementation of that solution.”