Qatar has made a fresh call for an Arab force to intervene in Syria if diplomatic efforts made by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi fail to restore calm in country.
“Arabs must think seriously about sending forces to ensure security in Syria if diplomatic efforts fail to resolve the crisis,” Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, said in remarks broadcast by Doha-based Al Jazeera television.
“It is not a question of intervention in Syria in favor of one party against the other, but rather a force to preserve security,” stated Sheikh Hamad, who also heads an Arab League committee on Syria.
Doha had made a similar proposal in September, where the Qatari told the UN General Assembly that Arab states should intervene in Syria if the Security Council failed to end the crisis there.
Brahimi is trying to build on an agreement, reached in Geneva in June, that calls for a transitional period in Syria.
Meanwhile, differences between Russia and the US over the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continue.
The United States – along with Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – has been pushing for the ouster of the Assad government.
Russia on Saturday voiced support for Brahimi’s peace efforts but insisted Assad’s exit cannot be a precondition for a deal to end the prolonged conflict in Syria.
Syria has experienced 21 months of deadly unrest, which has claimed the lives of many people, including large numbers of security forces.
The Syrian government says the chaos that began in the country in March 2011 is being orchestrated from outside. There are also reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals.