Middle East

Syria accepts Arab League peace plan after Cairo talks

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad (30 October 2011)
Image caption President Assad has refused to step down despite widespread protests against his rule

Syria has accepted a peace plan proposed by the Arab League to end more than seven months of violence, the League says.

The statement came after Arab League officials met in Cairo to negotiate a solution to the turmoil.

The agreement includes the release of prisoners, the withdrawal of security forces from the streets and talks between the government and opposition.

President Bashar al-Assad has sought to put down protests since March.

Correspondents say it is not yet clear whether it will make a difference on the ground.

Freedom of movement

"The Arab League welcomes the Syrian government's agreement to the Arab plan," the statement said, according to Reuters news agency.

The statement added that the League "emphasised the need for the immediate, full and exact implementation of the articles in the plan."

Under the agreement, Syria will immediately cease violence and withdraw security forces from cities.

Syria will also allow journalists, rights groups and Arab League representatives to move freely in Syria to monitor the situation.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told a news conference after a ministerial meeting in Cairo: "We are happy to have reached this agreement and we will be even happier when it is implemented immediately."