Dec. 19 - The Syrian government signs an Arab protocol to let in monitors. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
On Monday in Egypt, Syria signed an agreement to allow-in monitors as part of an Arab peace plan that aims to end a nine-month crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad's rule. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY GENERAL, NABIL ELARABY, APPROACHING PODIUM, SAYING: "Good morning, as most of you know, a few minutes ago, at 1300, a deal between the Syrian republic and the general secretariat, concerning the legal framework of the Arab League mission to Syria, has been signed." The protocol is part of a larger Arab League peace plan which calls for sending delegations to Syria, whose main purpose is to protect civilians. In Damascus, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem offered his thoughts. SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) WALID AL-MOUALEM, SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SAYING: "The co-ordination between our Russian friends and us is on a daily basis, whether through the Russian Ambassador to Damascus, or through phone calls with the Russian leadership. So there is no change in the Russian position. Russia's position is clear -- they advised us to sign the protocol, and we followed their advice." The United Nations estimates that 5,000 people have been killed in Syria since the uprising began in March. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters