The Gulf Co-operation Council, which represents Saudi Arabia and the other oil-rich Gulf monarchies, said it was convinced that “the bloodshed and the killing of innocent people there is continuing”.
Its decision furthers the growing international divide over Syria between Western-supporting states and a loose anti-western coalition involving Iran, Syria’s closest ally, but also Russia, Lebanon, Algeria and Iraq, who have opposed action against Damascus.
Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, said the government was considering whether to allow the mission to continue – something it had previously indicated it would accept. He said Syria now “rejected” Arab solutions to its internal crisis, after the League on Sunday demanded President Bashar al-Assad accept a unity government with the opposition followed by free elections within six months.
He claimed the League had deliberately put forward a peace plan it knew would be rejected by Damascus as a pretext to “internationalise” the situation, adding that “half the universe” was involved in a plot against the country”.