The ‘Friends of the Syria People’ and the US lend a hand to rebels fighting against al-Assad by declaring them legitimate representatives of the nation
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (L) talks with the Prime Minister of Qatar, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al Thani, during the conference in Marrakesh. EPA photo
The Syrian rebels have received a huge international recognition boost,
with Arab and Western states recognizing the National Coalition as the
sole legitimate representative of Syrians.
recognition has been given to the National Coalition as the sole
representative of the Syrian people,” Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad
Eddine El Othmani told a news conference after the meeting hosted by his
government in the southern city of Marrakesh. The talks brought
together representatives from 130 countries, including around 60
ministers, the Syrian opposition and international organizations.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called the conference “extraordinary
progress.” He noted that the European Union
was now renewing its weapons
embargo on Syria every three months rather than annually, in order to
be more flexible as the situation on the ground changes. British Foreign
Secretary William Hague also described the growing recognition of the
National Coalition as “real progress.”
opposition spokesman Walid al-Bunni called for “real support” and not
just recognition, speaking at the conference. The Syrian National
Coalition, formed in November during a conference in Doha, Qatar, has
been calling for increased international support, including military
“The important thing is to channel more assistance
through them, in our case... non-lethal assistance ... and then, of
course, we need more humanitarian aid,” Hague said. Similarly, Fabius
said France was not yet ready to supply weapons to Syrian insurgents
fighting to oust al-Assad, despite the setting up of a new rebel
In its communiqué, the Friends of Syria again
called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand down, and stressed
that his regime would not escape punishment for violations of
international law. It also warned Damascus against using chemical
weapons, saying this “would draw a serious response from the
international community.”Russia surprised
Marrakesh meeting came just a day after U.S. President Barack Obama
endorsed the National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the
Syrian people, following a similar move by the European Union.
head of the Syrian National Coalition Moaz al-Khatib also has been
invited for talks in Washington following U.S. recognition of the
opposition bloc, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said yesterday.
said it was surprised by Obama’s recognition, saying Washington was now
betting on an armed victory by rebels in the conflict. “I was somewhat
surprised to find out [about the recognition announcement] … The U.S.
has decided to place all its bets on an armed victory of the National
Coalition,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Timeline needed, FM says
MARRAKESH – Anatolian News Agency
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
called on the Friends of
Syria group meeting in Marrakesh to decide on a timeline for a solution
to the Syrian crisis, adding that there is no time left for diplomatic
“We do not have time to waste on diplomatic efforts
in the meetings. While continuing to call on the U.N. Security Council
to accomplish its responsibilities, we have to decide on a timeline in
order to get a meaningful decision from the Council,” he said. “The
first step is the recognition of the Syrian National Coalition as the
legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” he said. “If we do not
act now, not only us, but regional and global security will be under
threat,” Davutoğlu said.