Sunday, April 1, 2012
‘Friends of Syria’ recognize Syrian National Council as legitimate representative of all Syrians.(AlArabiya).“Friends of Syria” member countries recognized the opposition Syrian National Council Sunday as the “legitimate representative” of all Syrians, as Western and Arab countries met in Istanbul on Sunday to try to agree on how to support armed rebels fighting to unseat President Bashar al-Assad. In the final statement of the second “Friends of Syria” conference, “the Syrian National Council has been recognized as the legitimate representative of all Syrians,” said the Anatolia news agency said. A diplomat, who was involved in drafting the final communiqué, said the “Friends of Syria”, grouping more than 70 countries, would work on additional measures to protect the Syrian people, while the U.N. Security Council should play an important role in ending the conflict. “The wording is constructively ambiguous,” the diplomat said. Conference The communiqué will also recognize the legitimacy of steps taken by the Syrian people to defend themselves.
The representatives also agreed to support the legitimate measures that protesters have taken to protect themselves and urged a halt to arms shipments to the government. The head of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi called on participants of the conference to “simultaneously call on the Security Council to take a binding decision ... to stop the violence in Syria.”“If United Nations Security Council refrains from taking on the responsibility, the international community will have no chance but to accept Syrians' right to self-defiance,” Erdogan said as he opened the conference. The statement came after the leader of the SNC called on the international community to recognize the group as the sole representative of the Syrian people. “We want the recognition of the SNC as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” Burhan Ghalioun said at the conference. Ghalioun also announced that the group would pay for the salaries of all rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. “The SNC will take charge of the payment of fixed salaries of all officers, soldiers, and others who are members of the Free Syrian Army,” said Ghalioun.
Clinton told participants in Istanbul that Assad had promised to implement U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan but instead was launching new attacks on Syrian cities and denying delivery of aid. “Our message must be clear to those who give the orders and those who carry them out: Stop killing your fellow citizens or you will face serious consequences,” Clinton said. Asked about comments by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's spokesman, Ali Mussawi, that Iraq might not attend to preserve its role as mediator, Zebari said: “I think this was ... premature.” Mussawi had said that “we want to maintain our mediation role, and the role of mediator sometimes requires not participating in this conference or that.”“We reject any arming (of Syrian rebels) and the process to overthrow the regime, because this ... will leave a greater crisis in the region,” Maliki said.Read the full story here.