19 Nov 2011

Arab League mission reportedly accepted by Syria

6:13 am on 19 November 2011

A senior Syrian official says Damascus has in principle accepted an Arab League mission to the country.

But the diplomatic official who wished to remain unnamed, told the BBC that Syria does not want the delegation to be called an observer mission, as that would be bad for Syria's dignity.

The League on Wednesday gave Syria three days to agree or face sanctions.

The Arab League plan calls on Syria to withdraw tanks from restive cities, cease its attacks on protesters and engage in dialogue with the opposition within two weeks.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to the plan, but failed to honour it.

The Arab League formally suspended Syria on Wednesday. More than 370 people have reportedly been killed since then.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe warned opposition groups on Friday "to avoid recourse to an armed insurrection".

"A civil war would of course be a true catastrophe," he said.