Arab Ministers Meet in Cairo over Syria

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Arab foreign ministers are to gather on Monday in Cairo for talks focused mainly on Syria, a day after its fractured opposition agreed a breakthrough deal to close ranks.

Foreign ministers and senior diplomats of the 22-member body will be joined by Lakhdar Brahimi, the international envoy for Syria, for talks at 1500 GMT, a day after Syria's deeply divided opposition agreed to unite against President Bashar Assad, electing a moderate Muslim cleric as leader.

Brahimi and his deputy Nasser al-Qudwa met with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi ahead of the meeting, an official said.

Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, 52, a Damascus moderate who quit Syria three months ago, was elected head of the new grouping, with prominent dissident Riad Seif and female opposition figure Suhair al-Atassi chosen as his deputies.

The Syrian National Council (SNC) on Sunday finally signed up to the wider, more representative bloc centered on a government-in-waiting, as demanded by Arab and Western States.

The new opposition leader, Khatib, will be accompanying Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani to the Cairo talks.

"We will seek a full recognition of this new body," Sheikh Hamad said.

Concern had been raised of a spillover of the conflict as fighting raged on Syria's borders with Iraq and Turkey as well as on the armistice line with the Israeli-occupied Golan.

Nationwide violence killed at least 86 people on Sunday, including 34 civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, among more than 37,000 who have lost their lives since the uprising erupted in March 2011.

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas was to attend another meeting of Arab foreign ministers on Monday evening to discuss attempts to raise the Palestinians' U.N. status to non-member state.

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