First Published: 2012-08-28


Syrian opposition says too soon to form interim government


Opposition figures, meeting in Berlin to present political roadmap after possible ouster of Assad, say it is premature to try to set up new state.


Middle East Online

United against Assad, opposition remains divided

BERLIN - Syrian opposition activists gathered in Berlin said Tuesday that it was too soon to form a transition post-Assad government after France said it would recognise a new provisional administration.

The opposition figures, meeting in the German capital to present a political roadmap after a possible ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, said it was premature to try to set up a new state.

"If the international community is not willing at this point to give recognition to a transitional government unanimously then it would be a wasted effort to jump into that," Afra Jalabi, a Syrian-Canadian member of the executive committee of the so-called "Day After Project", told reporters.

President Francois Hollande, speaking to French diplomats Monday, urged the Syrian opposition to form a "provisional, inclusive and representative" government, which he said France would recognise "as soon as it is formed".

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said he found the Day After project "an important contribution to a new Syria" but appeared cool to Hollande's call.

"What is key is that the Syrian opposition unites and recognises democracy, tolerance and pluralism," he said. "We support the establishment of a credible alternative to the Assad regime."

Amr al-Azm, a US-based history professor who is also on the Day After committee, said he was upbeat that a democratic government could eventually supplant the Assad regime.

"The transitional government must be inclusive, and reflect the diverse forces" in the country, he said. "I expect sometime in the near future there will be a transitional government."

The group's project was initiated by the Washington-based United States Institute of Peace in partnership with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

The 45 participants included women and men, members of the Syrian National Council (SNC), the Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups, those with experience in the Free Syrian Army and youth activists.

The project lays out goals including developing a new national identity based on civic unity, building consensus on key democratic principles and revamping the security forces to protect the rights of all citizens.

The document, the first of its kind from the Syrian opposition, offers recommendations for a new constitution and principles for institution building.

SNC member Murhaf Jouejati called the draft "a series of suggestions that will be taken or not by a provisional government, they are not written in stone".

Analysts say the opposition is marred by sharp differences in strategy for fighting the regime and goals for a post-Assad Syria.


Tunisia under state of emergency

Turkey downs Russia Su-24 fighter jet on Syria border

Lavrov says no war with Turkey after 'planned provocation'

Brussels extends terror alert as US issues worldwide travel warning

Somali pirates seize Iran fishing boat with 15 crew

Missing Iranian diplomat found dead in Saudi

Heavy Russia raids at site of Syria plane crash

Tunisia declares state of emergency after terrorist attack in heart of capital

Bahrain calls HRW torture report 'misleading'

Syria, Russia foreign ministers set Moscow talks

Rival Libya tribes sign peace deal to end months of fighting

Turkey reveals new cabinet of Erdogan allies

Hopes fade away as Sudan peace talks break without deal

At least 6 dead in Libya bomb attack

ISIS suicide bombers kill four in assault on Sinai hotel

Kerry visits Israel with scant hopes for major breakthrough

Hollande heads to Washington to seek support for war on ISIS

UAE blames Islamists for delay in military operation in Taez

Egypt kills 5 Sudanese migrants near border with Israel

Anti-Muslim hate crimes rise 300 percent in Britain

Russia eases restrictions on nuclear cooperation with Iran

Gulf leaders to hold annual summit on December 10

Ex-Gathafi Minister arrested over murder of UK policewoman

UK boosts military spending as pressure grows to join anti-ISIS strikes

Israel bars Palestinians from West Bank settlement bloc

Iraq suspends northern flights due to danger posed by Russia missiles

Syria army advances against ISIS in central province of Homs

Pro-Kurdish leader escapes assassination attempt in Turkey

Tunisia group claims beheading of young shepherd on behalf of ISIS

Kerry arrives in Abu Dhabi for Syria discussions

Three Palestinians killed as fresh violence hits West Bank

Iran arrests ISIS-linked cell near Iraq border

Brussels remains on high alert for second day in a row

Israel seeks to strip citizenship of those who join ISIS

France warns Libya as ISIS gains ground

Fear escalates as ISIS edges closer to Syria Christian town

Iran sentences reporter Jason Rezaian to prison

Egyptians vote in second phase of parliamentary elections

Assad grateful to Russia as army advances on ‘nearly every front’

Obama calls for resolve in face of terrorist threats

Russia bombs ISIS in heaviest strikes since beginning of Syria war

ISIS claims deadly attack on Iraq Shiite mosque

Iran Revolutionary Guard simulate capture of Al-Aqsa Mosque

Turkey-backed Syria rebels seize two border villages from ISIS

Israel shuts down second Palestinian radio station