Syria's foreign minister Walid al-Mouallem
Syria's foreign minister Walid al-Mouallem

Syria's foreign minister has snubbed Arab League demands that President Bashar al-Assad hands over power and insisted that the regime was still strong.

The Arab League urged Syria to form a national unity government that would include the opposition within two months. With violence still gripping the country league observers have withdrawn.

Syria's foreign minister, Walid al-Mouallem, rebuffed the league demands and called a referral to the UN a "provocation to bring in the international community".

"This new stage is part of what they planned against Syria which is to stall any decision [for a resolution]," Mouallem said in Damascus.

The league's reaction represented another phase in the "conspiracy" against Syria, he added.

"The Arab League is not qualified enough to play the role [in the plan] and now they want to go to the Security Council," Moallem said.

He said the league had confirmed Syrian government claims that armed groups were operating inside the country. It said the Free Syrian Army was behind the killing of French journalist Gilles Jacquier in Homs, he claimed.

Mouallem insisted Syria was committed to the league's plan to end violence.