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Lebanese president warns against isolating Syria


09:45, November 14, 2011

BEIRUT, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese President Michel Sleiman warned Sunday that isolating Syria could lead to foreign intervention in the country and urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to implement an Arab League initiative to end political crisis.

"Isolation carries dangers and it is possible it could lead to foreign intervention, but in return, the Syrian government should implement all reforms," Sleiman told reporters in the northern coastal city of Tripoli.

"In terms of isolating Syria, Lebanon is against it because the people [are the] ones who pay [the price] and [isolation] impedes dialogue," Sleiman added.

The Arab League decided Saturday to suspend Syria's activities at the pan-Arab organization. The suspension, which will take effect on Nov. 16, was approved by 18 member states. Syria, Lebanon and Yemen voted against the motion while Iraq abstained.

The Arab League said the suspension would remain in force until Damascus abided in full with the initiative it signed up on Nov. 2.

The AL initiative calls on Damascus to withdraw the Syrian army from the streets, free political prisoners, grant reporters access to the country and launch dialogue with the opposition.

The Lebanese president urged his Syrian counterpart to implement the initiative in order to end the turmoil in Syria, where the United Nations said over 3,500 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since mid-March.

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