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Arab League reprieve for Syria

In what amounted to a surprise reprieve, the Arab League offered to send civilian and military monitors to Syria on Wednesday to determine whether it was abiding by a league-brokered peace plan to end the crackdown on the country's eight-month uprising. The move countered the league's startling decision five days earlier to suspend Syria.

world Updated: Nov 18, 2011 00:02 IST

In what amounted to a surprise reprieve, the Arab League offered to send civilian and military monitors to Syria on Wednesday to determine whether it was abiding by a league-brokered peace plan to end the crackdown on the country's eight-month uprising. The move countered the league's startling decision five days earlier to suspend Syria.

In a meeting of foreign ministers here, the league offered Syria a new deadline of three days to accept the plan, which calls for the government to withdraw its troops from cities and stop firing on protesters. The move effectively delayed Syria's suspension, suggesting that the league still believed its plan was viable, despite a death toll this month that activists put at nearly 400.

The league's move appeared to be a last-ditch attempt at diplomacy, though officials were reluctant to describe it as such. Syria has long played a pivotal role in the 22-member league, and appeared to have been taken aback by Saturday's decision to suspend its membership.