Mid-level countries need to step up for Syrian solution: NGO chief

Mid-level countries need to step up for Syrian solution: NGO chief

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Mid-level countries need to step up for Syrian solution: NGO chief

Free Syrian Army fighters walk on rubble as they inspect the damage. REUTERS Photo

A grouping of medium-level states like Canada, Norway and South Africa should be established to back up the efforts of U.N.-Arab League mediator Lakhdar Brahimi and others to solve Syria’s crisis, the general manager of the Orient Research Center said today in Istanbul.

“Turkey would also be in a very good place for such an initiative,” Dr. Samir al-Taqi said, underlining that Turkey was a country that is very trusted by the Syrian people.

The plan includes preventing the use of arms such as Scud missiles on Syrian territory and supporting an interim and transitional government. Al-Taqi told the Hürriyet Daily News that big states such as the United States and Russia were stuck on their own problems, meaning medium-level states also needed to step up and help solve the crisis.

Al-Taqi’s plan was discussed at a joint workshop entitled “Democracy on the Ashes of Authoritarianism: The Way Ahead for Arab Countries in Transition,” which was organized by the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK) and the American RAND Corporation. The two think tanks gave a joint press conference to summarize the main points of their workshop and to respond to journalists’ questions.

Asked if extremists could be a part of an alternative plan, he said: “We have to exclude all non-Syrians. The radicals – they are part of the Syrian people; they should be a part of the solution. If extremists are selling their food to buy arms, nobody should be excluded –except the foreigners.”

Participants at the workshop examined the transition period of Arab countries following the popular uprisings which started two years ago.

Prominent politicians, academics, activists and opinion leaders who came together for the workshop said it might be more suitable for every country to determine and assess its own process of democratization based on its own characteristics. A participatory and inclusive system and a strong opposition were also some key points that were highlighted for a democracy by the attendees.