Syrian opposition opens first embassy in Qatar
A photo made available on March 26, 2013, shows Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib head of the Syrian opposition delegation attending the opening of the Arab League summit in the Qatari capital, Doha, on March 26, 2013. AFP PhotoThe Syrian opposition coalition, recognised by the Arab League as the sole representative for Syria, opened its first embassy in the Qatari capital Doha on Wednesday, Reuters has reported.
In presence of Arab and Western ambassadors, the president of Syria's opposition coalition, Moaz Alkhatib and Qatari Khalid al-Atiyah, state minister for foreign affairs, cut the ribbon at the entrance to the embassy.
The national anthem of Qatar and Syria played as Qatari and Syrian opposition figures stood underneath the Syrian opposition's flag framed in red, green, white and black balloons.
Syrian opposition's Arab League seat 'illegal': Russia
Russia on Wednesday called the Arab League's decision to award Syria's seat at the organisation to the anti-regime opposition "illegal and indefensible," AFP has reported.
"In terms of international law, the League's decision on Syria is illegal and indefensible because the government of the Syrian Arab Republic was and is the legitimate representative member-state at the United Nations," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
Iran slams Arab League over Syria opposition seat
Iran's foreign ministry on Wednesday criticised as a "dangerous precedent" the Arab League's decision to allocate Syria's long-vacant seat to the Syrian opposition.
Opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib took Syria's seat at the League on Tuesday as Arab leaders gathered in Doha for their annual summit, sparking a furious reaction from Damascus.
"Handing Syria's seat to the so-called provisional government is a dangerous precedent by the members of the Arab League," Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by Iranian media as telling reporters.
Salehi said, without elaborating, that continuation of "such mistakes will only add to the problems".
Iran has remained a steadfast ally of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout the two-year conflict that the UN says has killed more than 70,000 people.
In a separate report on the official IRNA news agency, deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said this decision to hand the seat to the opposition "is in effect the end of the (Arab) League's role in the region." He also warned that such fate could await other members of the Arab organisation in the future.
Syria's seat had been empty since the country was suspended in November 2011 after it rejected calls to end violence against protesters and instead pressed a bloody crackdown on dissent.