CAIRO, July 24 (Reuters) - The head of the Arab League has
said the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad cannot
last for long, saying its days were numbered in an interview
published in the pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat on Tuesday.
Speaking after an Arab League meeting which called on Assad
to step down, Secretary General Nabil Elaraby also said the time
for talking about political reform was over. "There is now no
talk about political reform, but a transfer of power," he said.
Arab League ministers who convened in Doha on Sunday called
on Assad to relinquish power, adding that the Arab League would
help to provide a safe exit for him and his family.
Asked how long the Assad administration could survive,
Elaraby told al-Hayat: "I cannot define a period, but the regime
cannot continue for a long time."
As required by the Arab League resolutions adopted on
Sunday, Elaraby said he would soon travel to China and Russia
with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who
chairs the Arab League committee on Syria.
China and Russia have used their veto power in the U.N.
Security Council three times to block resolutions designed to
pressure Assad and halt the conflict in Syria.
"Our message to the Russians will be, with clarity and
frankness, that the veto decision they took is viewed as being
against Arab interests. We hope for a review of the matter,
especially given that they know that the days of the current
regime in Syria are numbered," he said.
Elaraby also urged the Syrian opposition to unite and form a
(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Jon Boyle)