US backs new Syrian opposition ahead of conference
Wednesday 12 December 2012
The fourth conference for the “Friends of the Syrian People” was set to open today after the US said the new Syrian opposition coalition is the “sole legitimate representative” of the Syrian people.
The US move, announced by President Barack Obama late last night, follows that of the UK and France and what that will mean for the Syrian
opposition should be indicated by the results of the conference, which includes more than a hundred delegates from Europe and the Gulf countries in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.
The Syrian National Coalition, formed in November during a conference in Doha, Qatar, has been calling for increased international support, including military material for opposition forces battling the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria for nearly two years.
The US is not, however, expected to approve military aid, in part over fears of al-Qa'ida linked rebel units operating in the country.
Obama's announcement follows his administration's blacklisting of a militant Syrian rebel group with links to al-Qa'ida. That step is aimed at blunting the influence of extremists amid fears that the regime may use or lose control of its stockpile of chemical weapons.
The US had been leading international efforts to prod the fractured Syrian opposition into coalescing around a leadership that would represent all of the country's factions and religions. Yet it had held back from granting recognition to the group until it demonstrated that it could organise itself in credible fashion.
In particular, Washington had wanted to see the group set up smaller committees that could deal with specific immediate and short-term issues, such as governing parts of Syria under their control and putting in place institutions to address the needs of people once Assad is ousted. Some of those committees could form the basis of a transitional government.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was expected to attend the conference, but cancelled following an illness and will be represented by Deputy Secretary of State for the Middle East, William Burns.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today the recognition contradicted earlier international agreements that foresee the "commencement of an all-Syria dialogue" that would include all sides of the conflict, in which more than 40,000 people have died so far.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
Isis in Kobani: US resupplies Kurdish fighters by plane - then Turkey allows reinforcements through its border
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming the street artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Are you ready for Crazy Doritos, the red-hot snack food craze sweeping Mexico’s streets?
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...
£60 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Seconda...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Java Developer...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Ilford: School Office/ Finance Assistant Long t...