Arab League says Syria seat not given to opposition
DUBAI- Agence France-Presse
Arab League Secretary General al-Arabi says Syria seat not given to opposition. AFP photoThe vacant Syrian seat at the Arab League has not been given to the opposition, even though its leader addressed the bloc's last summit, the league's secretary general said today.
"The opinion was that if they [opposition] form a government, which they have not done yet, then they can become a representative," Nabil al-Arabi told reporters in Dubai.
He said the opposition chief had been invited to address the March summit in Doha by the meeting's Qatari host, not by the bloc. "Yes, they were invited to address the summit, but until now, the opposition is not invited to meetings, because it has not formed a government," Arabi said.
A delegation from the opposition National Coalition addressed Arab leaders in Doha after Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani invited them in his capacity as summit chairman.
Its head, Ahmed Mouaz al-Khatib, who has since stepped down as National Coalition leader, gave a fiery speech in which he demanded Syria's seat at the United Nations.
The Damascus government's membership of the Arab League was suspended in November 2011 after it rejected calls to end violence against protesters and instead pressed a bloody crackdown on dissent.
The National Coalition chose Ghassan Hitto as rebel prime minister in March in a controversial appointment that sparked a walkout by some opposition leaders.
But he has yet to form an interim government, the key condition set by the 22-nation bloc for the opposition to take up Syria's seat.