30 Mar 2012

Summit votes for peace plan implementation

3:43 pm on 30 March 2012

An Arab League summit in Baghdad has supported a resolution calling for the immediate implementation of a plan to end a year of violence in Syria.

The joint Arab League-UN plan was brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan.

It would see a UN-monitored end to fighting, a pull-out of troops from areas where there is opposition to President Bashar al-Assad, and access for humanitarian services.

The BBC reports Syrian state media as saying the Syrian president has accepted the plan but that "terrorism" must stop as well.

The Arab League summit resolution also called for the Syrian opposition to unite and for parties to the conflict to launch a "serious national dialogue".

However, the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned against arming the parties to the conflict.

Mr Maliki says, based on Iraq's experience, arming either side of the conflict would lead to a regional and international proxy war in Syria.

Only 10 leaders from the Arab League's 22 members states were in Baghdad for the summit, the first to be held in Iraq for more than 20 years.

The leaders of Morocco, Jordan and all the Gulf States except Kuwait have stayed away.

The start of the summit was followed almost immediately by explosions in the centre of the city.

There were no reports of casualties.