Qatar Emir Tells Syria Force is 'Fruitless,' Urges Serious Reformsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The emir of Qatar criticized Syria for using force against protesters demanding democratic change, describing the approach as fruitless and urging serious reforms, QNA state news agency said Friday.
"All of us, who stood by Syria in its difficult times, have tried to encourage our brothers in Syria to make real reforms," said Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who was on a visit to Iran.
"The Syrian people have taken to the street in a real civil uprising to demand change, justice and freedom," he said following talks with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, a strong ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"Everyone knows that the security approach has proven fruitless, and the Syrian people do not seem about to abandon its demands after the price that it has paid," he added.
QNA said Sheikh Hamad hoped policy makers in Damascus would realize the need to change in a manner that meets the aspirations of the people, quoting him as saying that "we should help them to take such a decision."
The United Nations has said that more than 2,200 people have died in the Syrian crackdown.
Qatar had long enjoyed cordial relations with Damascus, but al-Jazeera, the Doha-based pan-Arab news channel, has come under strong criticism by the Syrian authorities for its coverage of the popular revolt that erupted in mid-March.
Damascus deems al-Jazeera to be exaggerating the protest movement.
The Iranian leader told the visiting emir the region must resolve issues on its own, saying Western "interference" would complicate the situation, the presidency website reported Friday.
"Regional countries can resolve (their) issues ... without the interference of the West," Ahmadinejad said on Thursday in a two-hour meeting with Sheikh Hamad.
The emir arrived Thursday night for talks on regional issues with Ahmadinejad, before wrapping up his hours-long visit after midnight.
"The president emphasized that the interference of foreigners and domineering powers in the regional countries' internal affairs would complicate the situation and make it more difficult," the website quoted him as saying.