Friends of Syria head to Morocco

2012-12-10 09:32

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Marrakesh - The Friends of Syria nations that support regime change meet in Morocco on Wednesday for the first time since the creation of a new opposition coalition seeking wider international recognition.

Arab and Western states will consider two key issues concerning the 21-month conflict - the political transition in the event of President Bashar Assad's fall, and mobilising vital humanitarian aid as winter sets in.

Since the last meeting, in Paris in July, the number of people killed has risen from 16 000 to more than 42 000, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

Wednesday's meeting will address ways of supporting the National Coalition, which "brings together a very broad range of opposition factions and individuals" and is a "very credible interlocutor", according to Rabat.

Under international pressure to unite, Syrian opponents of the Assad regime agreed in Doha on 11 November to establish the coalition and group the various rebel forces under a supreme military council.

The Gulf Co-operation Council, France, Britain and Turkey have all formally recognised the coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

But it has failed to win universal backing amid doubts over whether it genuinely represents all sectors of Syrian society. Many are looking to see if it wins Washington's formal endorsement.

Comments by US officials have raised this prospect.

New opposition


"Now that there is a new opposition formed, we are going to be doing what we can to support that opposition," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Brussels last week.

"This is a pretty nascent group, but they clearly seem to be moving in the right direction," said State Department spokesperson Mark Toner.

In the latest move to bolster its credentials, the coalition plans to announce the creation of a military council before Wednesday's meeting, bringing most of the rebel groups under a single command structure.

Radical Islamist groups such as Al-Nusra Front will notably be excluded, amid US concerns that weapons supplied to the rebels have been reaching jihadist groups.

Other countries are pushing for international acceptance of the coalition as the Syrian people's legitimate representative.

"We hope that the maximum number of countries join our ranks, but I don't know if this recognition will take place individually or in groups," said a French foreign ministry spoksperson.

"We hope that [the meeting] lays the foundations for the constitution of a provisional government in Syria," he added.

National Coalition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib has expressed optimism about a positive outcome from Marrakesh, with more than 100 delegations due to attend.

Humanitarian aid

"There are many countries, in Europe, the United States and the Gulf, that have shown great understanding," he told AFP.

He urged participants to ensure that the conference "remains true to its name", urging them to show "that they are real friends of Syria, by offering their support with all the resources possible".

Khatib also said humanitarian aid was a "priority".

Clinton touched on the same question last week during a Nato meeting, calling Assad's fall "inevitable" and saying it was "just a question of how many people will die until that date occurs".

Washington has provided about $200m in humanitarian assistance, as well as non-lethal aid to the rebels, officially declining to send arms.

But it has warned of "consequences" should Damascus unleash chemical weapons on its own people, amid concerns over the possible use of deadly sarin gas.

"We are extremely concerned," British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters on Saturday.

He said London had joined Washington in delivering a strong message to Assad's government that if it uses chemical weapons the global community had "contingency plans," without specifying what they were.

Syria has insisted it would never countenance such a policy, suggesting instead that the rebels themselves may use chemical weapons.

- SAPA

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  hillary clinton  |  uk  |  syria  |  france  |  us  |  turkey  |  morocco  |  syria conflict  |  north africa  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Kuils River - 17:34 PM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit
  • Sunday Parow - 08:10 AM
    Road name: Mike Pienaar Boulevard
    WEEKENDS - ROAD CLOSED between Voortrekker Road and Tienie Meyer Drive due to roadworks (until end July)
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2775.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come up to alert you of your security needs. It may be that you need to create a better structure for your finances...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.