The Arab League approved by a majority vote on Sunday sweeping economic sanctions on Syria over its crackdown on protesters and the Qatari foreign minister said that, if Arabs failed to contain the crisis, other foreign powers could intervene.

Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani has previously said Arabs wanted to avoid a repeat of what happened in Libya, where U.N. Security Council resolution led to NATO air strikes.

All the work that we are doing is to avoid this interference, he said, adding that if the international community did not see that Arabs were serious he could not guarantee that such action would be avoided.

The League approved by 19 of the League's 22 members sanctions that included a travel ban on top Syrian officials, freezing assets related to President Bashar al-Assad's government, halting dealings with Syria's central bank and stopping investments in Syria, Sheikh Hamad told a news conference.

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh and Ayman Samir; Writing by Edmund Blair)