CAIRO (AP) — A senior Arab League official says Syria has denied permission for a deputy of UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan to travel to Damascus.
The official says Syria made clear that the decision against former Palestinian foreign minister Nasser al-Kidwa is not personal, but rather because it did not want to deal with the Arab League. The official spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
Syria, where nearly 10,000 have died since a popular uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began last year, says the League became a tool of the West. The group suspended Syria’s membership and approved sanctions against it late last year.
Annan is due in Damascus on Monday. The Arab League named Al-Kidwa as his deputy in March.
Meanwhile, Syria’s foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi has denied government troops were behind an attack on a string of villages that left more than 90 people dead.
Friday’s assault on Houla, an area northwest of the central city of Homs, was one of the bloodiest single events in Syria’s 15-month-old uprising.
Makdissi told reporters in Damascus at a Sunday news conference that Syria is being subjected to a “tsunami of lies” blaming the government. He said anti-government gunmen carried the attack. Earlier, Syrian authorities had blamed the attack on al-Qaeda-linked rebels.
“We categorically deny the responsibility of government forces for the massacre,” Makdissi said. Makdissi says a committee was sent to investigate the case and results should be out within three days.