Istanbul hosts core group meet on Syria

Istanbul hosts core group meet on Syria

Istanbul hosts core group meet on Syria

The president of Syria’s main opposition, al-Jarba, discussed the ongoing crisis with FM Davutoğlu and called on Western nations to intervene. AFP photo

As part of global diplomatic contacts concerning Syria, which have intensified after a nerve gas attack is reported to have killed hundreds near Damascus last week, Istanbul will tomorow hold a political director-level meeting of the Friends of Syria Core Group.

The core group consists of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and the United States.

Ambassador Ömer Önhon, deputy undersecretary at the Foreign Ministry and the former ambassador to Syria, will represent Turkey at the one-day meeting, Turkish officials told the Hürriyet Daily News today.

Noting that no specific agenda item was set for the meeting which comes at a crucial time, the same officials said a wide range of issues would be discussed at the meeting. However, the most pressing subject will naturally be the latest alleged chemical attack, the urgency to investigate the attack and find the perpetrators, and to encourage the U.N. Security Council to take action, they said. “The Geneva process and the balances on the ground will of course be discussed as well,” a Turkish diplomat said, referring to the long-planned follow-up to a ministerial meeting on Syria held in the Swiss city on June 30, 2012, chaired by Arab League-United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s predecessor as Arab League-U.N. envoy, Kofi Annan.

Meanwhile, the military chiefs of the United States, its main Western allies and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar were set to meet in Jordan to discuss the situation in Syria. Reuters cited a Pentagon spokesman saying that the U.S. Central Command and the Jordanian armed forces were co-hosting the regional defense talks from Aug. 25 to 27, and that the conference had been planned since June.

Officials in Ankara confirmed that a military meeting was scheduled to take place this week in Jordan. However, they said it would not be at the level of chiefs of staff, but would rather be at a lower senior level, and would be held within the framework of the Friends of Syria Core Group.