Opposition 'legitimate representative': Friends of Syria



MARRAKESH, Morocco- Countries opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime are to recognise the newly formed opposition coalition as "the legitimate representative" of the Syrian people, a statement obtained by AFP showed.
"The participants acknowledged the National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and the umbrella organisation under which Syrian opposition groups are gathering," said the statement to be approved by a meeting of the Friends of Syria group in Morocco on Wednesday.



Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia
The meeting in the southern city of Marrakesh has brought together representatives from 130 countries, including around 60 ministers, the Syrian opposition and international organisations, for talks on the 21-month conflict rocking Syria.
It comes just a day after US President Barack Obama endorsed the opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
In its communique, the Friends of Syria again called on Assad to stand down, and stressed that his regime would not escape punishment for its violations of international law.
"Bashar al-Assad has lost legitimacy and should stand aside to allow the launching of a sustainable political transition process."
And it warned that the Syrian government against using biological weapons, saying that this "would draw a serious response from the international community."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague described the growing recognition of the National Coalition as "real progress."
"Then the important thing is to channel more assistance through them -- in our case ... non-lethal assistance... and then of course we need more humanitarian aid," Hague told reporters before the start of the meeting.
Under pressure to unite, the Syrian opposition agreed in Doha on November 11 to establish the National Coalition and group the various rebel forces under a supreme military council.
But jihadist rebels in Aleppo, a key front line in northern Syria, rejected the coalition, saying they want an Islamic state.
Among them was Al-Nusra Front, which the United States blacklisted on Tuesday as a "terrorist" organisation, citing its Al-Qaeda links.
With the total death toll from the civil war now topping 42,000, according to a rights monitor, the UN refugee agency said the number of Syrian refugees who had fled to neighbouring states and North Africa had now passed half a million.
Participants at the meeting in Morocco in their communique called for unimpeded access for humanitarian organisations working in Syria, and said they were ready "to increase the funding of the national coalition relief activities."
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Wednesday, December 12th 2012
AFP
           


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