Syria has responded positively to the Arab League (AL) protocol on an observer mission with proposed "minor amendments" to the plan, and is waiting for the AL's response, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said.
In a message sent by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem to AL chief Nabil al-Arabi, Syria welcomed monitoring by observers, but proposed some minor amendments that would not affect the protocol's essence.
If the AL accepted the amendments, there would be high-level coordination to make the mission a success, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Jihad Makdissi told reporters at a press conference, adding that observers could move freely except for some coordination from the Syrian side.
Makdissi said the minor amendments included that the protocol be signed in Damascus, and that all the decisions and sanctions against Syria should be considered "null and void once the two sides signed the protocol."
Syria also demanded the AL cooperate with the Syrian side and handle the crisis in an objective and neutral way, the spokesman said.
"We believe that the road has become paved before an immediate signing ... and we also believe that all that submitted by Syria aims primarily to facilitate the mission of the AL and make it a success, in order to preserve an Arab solution inside the Arabs' house," he said.
Syria is keen to make the Arab plan a success as long as it aims to help Syria rather than to further aggravate the situation, Makdissi said, adding that the minor amendments had nothing to do with the nature of the observer mission, but were rather "absolutely procedural and logistical measures."
"Making the mission a success is primarily linked to the Arabs' intentions," and Syria is "optimistic" and aims to prevent the internationalization of the Syrian crisis, he said.
In Cairo, AL Secretary-General al-Arabi commented on the amendments. "The conditions contained new elements that we have not heard before," el-Arabi said, adding that the Arab foreign ministers were reviewing them.
However, he said, the sanctions already imposed on Syria are still valid until the AL ministerial committee decides otherwise.
Last Saturday, the committee approved a travel ban on high-ranking Syrian officials and a freeze of their assets in Qatar.
At the ministerial meeting, the AL also approved an arms embargo on Syria, and reduced flights between Syria and other countries by 50 percent.
Besides, the committee asked Arab Red Crescent societies to draw up an emergency plan in the hopes of accommodating the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people.
Concerning the positive response from Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Monday that it is wise for the Syrian government to sign the protocol with the AL, as it would offer new opportunities to peacefully solve the Syrian crisis through dialogue.
He added that Russia fully supported the protocol and had been in contact with Syria to let it understand the Russian position, urging all Syrian parties concerned in the crisis, including the government, to do everything possible to cooperate with the AL.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota Monday praised Syria's conditional acceptance of the plan as a "positive development."
"We favor diplomacy ... we will support these efforts with a view toward ending the escalation of violence and creating conditions for a political solution (in Syria)," the official news agency Agencia Brasil quoted Patriota as saying.
By signing the protocol, Syria would avoid seeking the help of the UN Security Council to solve its crisis.
Mohammad Habash, a Syrian parliamentarian and a moderate Islamic scholar, said the government must spare no effort to make the AL plan succeed and to allow observers into the hot-spot areas.
He warned against the internationalization of the Syrian crisis and a possible military intervention in Syria, saying that this would be catastrophic for the Syrians.
"Signing the Arab protocol is the only way out of the crisis as the Arab initiative should not die because it is the sole and rational solution so far," he said.
Syria missed a second deadline Sunday set by the AL to sign the observer mission protocol, 10 days after it failed to meet the Nov. 25 deadline to allow the observers in.
Syria blames the nearly nine-month-long unrest and the snowballing pressures from Arab and non-Arab countries on powers that disagree with its stance.
Last week, the European Union, the United States, Turkey and the AL slapped new economic sanctions on Damascus to further cripple the Syrian economy and tighten its grip on President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
To retaliate, Syria suspended last week its membership in the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the Syrian-Turkish free trade agreement.