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Arab League offers Syria seat to opposition

Nabil Elaraby, the league's secretary-general, leftThe Arab League has invited the opposition Syrian National Coalition to choose a representative to attend the league meeting in Doha later this month.

Nabil Elaraby, the league's secretary-general, told a news conference on Wednesday that League ministers meeting in Cairo had offered the Syrian National Coalition, the Western and Arab-backed opposition umbrella group, the country's seat at the Arab League on condition that it first forms a representative executive council.

The 22-member bloc suspended Syria's membership in 2011 after President Bashar al-Assad's government failed to abide by an Arab peace plan that aimed to end the conflict.

The invitation follows a meeting of foreign ministers from the league who met in Egypt with the Syrian crisis high on the agenda.

The meeting in Cairo comes ahead of a scheduled Arab summit due to be held in the Qatari capital, Doha, later this month.

A statement issued at the end of the ministers' meeting said that Arab states were free to offer military support to rebels fighting the forces of  Bashar al-Assad if they wished.

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