FM warns of decaying time for divided Syria opposition

FM warns of decaying time for divided Syria opposition

FM warns of decaying time for divided Syria opposition

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (C) says all responsible actors on the Syrian crisis should share the burden. AA photo

There is not a moment to lose, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said yesterday in Doha, referring to the fractured structure of the Syrian opposition, adding that all responsible actors should share the burden of responsibility.

Speaking to opposition figures in the Qatari capital, Davutoğlu said the Syrian people should receive more support. “This is an important day and other countries should support the Syrian people,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency. Stressing that the process of unifying the opposition should not be delayed anymore Davutoğlu urged that “There is not a moment to lose.”

Ahmed Ben Helli, deputy head of the Arab League, told reporters that delegates had been urged to overcome the sharp divides that have dogged their efforts to unseat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The opposition is urged to agree on a leading body which would have credibility among the Syrian people and the international community,” Ben Helli said. His comments were echoed by Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani who, on opening the conference, called on al-Assad’s opponents to “unify their ranks and positions and to prioritise the interests of their nation and people over their own personal interests.” A call for unity also came from British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who during a visit to India urged Syrian opposition groups to unite to halt extremists gaining influence in the country.

The main Syrian opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Council, had also met in Doha to elect a new leadership, with Islamists heavily represented, after being criticized for not being representative enough.

The SNC said that it had voted in a new 41-member general secretariat, which will now be tasked with electing 11 members to appoint a successor for outgoing president Abdel Basset Sayda. The process has been delayed until today to allow four members representing women and minorities to be added to the secretariat ahead of the vote, officials said. Islamists, including at least five Muslim Brotherhood members, account for around a third of the new secretariat, with the Kurdish and Assyrian minorities also represented but no women.