G-20 to roll up sleeves for new Syria road map

G-20 to roll up sleeves for new Syria road map

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
G-20 to roll up sleeves for new Syria road map

A Syrian man carries a wounded girl following an explosion that targeted a military bus in Damascus. At least seven people were killed in blasts capital and in Idlib city.AFP photo

Western powers will try to break the resistance of Russia and China over Syria during the G-20 summit to be held in Mexico on June 19, where a fresh road map aiming at a swift democratic transition in the conflict-torn country may be agreed on.

“As the head of states and governments, we will hold a focused meeting there [in Mexico]. We will determine what steps we will take and our road map,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters late June 7. Citing the roles that leading international organizations like the U.N. Security Council, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Conference should play in this process, Erdoğan said, “The steps these institutions take will be the determinant of our actions.”

The apparent collapse of U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point plan has mobilized the international community to seek a new road map and an international campaign to stop atrocities committed by the Bashar al-Assad regime. Russia took the stage June 5 by calling for an international conference with the inclusion of Iran, in a move to show its intention to sit at the table with leading Western and Arab powers on Syria. As the U.S., France and United Kingdom objected to Iran’s participation in such a process, a meeting under the G-20, in which most of the countries directly engaged with the Syria crisis are natural members, has become a new venue to discuss the problem.

However, there has yet to be official confirmation of Russia’s acceptance, despite the fact that Erdoğan announced it, adding that he would also be seeking a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the eve of the Mexico summit.

China not to veto Syria resolutions

The Turkish prime minister argued that China was of the same opinion with Turkey on Syria, as he had heard this from Chinese President Hu Jintao when he visited Beijing a few months ago. “Now it seems Russia is the sole country supporting Syria,” Erdoğan said, adding that the Chinese leader had told him that China would no longer veto resolutions on Syria at the U.N. Security Council. Answering a question on a Russian idea envisaging refuge for Bashar al-Assad in a third country, possibly Russia, similarly to what happened in Yemen, Erdoğan said this model could be discussed. The most important thing, he said, is al-Assad agreeing to leave power. “I do not know whether they have prepared al-Assad for this. Of course, how he will leave power is equally important,” he said, while also warning that Yemen and Syria were two different cases.

With the massacres his security forces have committed in recent weeks, al-Assad seems to be headed for a fall, Erdoğan said: “I am openly saying: Bashar al-Assad will go. He cannot stay here, sooner or later he will have to go.”