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.

 

Austria adopts 'Islam of European character'

Netanyahu speech to test resilience of US-Israeli ties

IS executioner identity revealed

HRW: Kurds preventing return of Arabs to disputed Iraq areas

FIFA cites 'problems' in worker conditions for Qatar World Cup

Rouhani adviser blames ‘extremists’ for rights violations

US-led coalition raids IS targets in northeastern Syria

3 sentenced to death over Bahrain police killings

Hollande condemns French MPs for meeting Assad

One dead in series of Cairo bombings

UN Security Council calls for stepping up Yemen talks

Kerry: US, Iran have 'mutual interest' in defeating IS

Australian FM warns women against 'romantic adventure' with IS

Lebanese synagogue gets second life

Tuareg chief issues plea for Mali unity

UN: Saleh amassed between $32-60 billion

Libyan FM warns country could be next Syria

Iran rejects US claims of role in Yemen crisis

French planes on Gulf-based carrier make first strikes

Top US official warns against Netanyahu speech to congress

Four French MPs meet Assad in Syria

Mosque torched near Bethlehem

Egypt TV host faces trial for false bathhouse accusations

Turkey drives hard bargain over crucial missile deal

Obama nominates first US ambassador to Somalia since 1991

Obama praises Qatar as 'strong partner' in fighting IS

Saudi goes hi-tech against IS threat

Sisi grants Egypt authorities sweeping anti-terror powers

Algeria police prevent anti-shale gas protest

Turkey revives Istanbul canal plan

Egypt to host Arab League summit end of March

Madrid breaks up online network recruiting young women for IS

Jordan delivers military equipment to Lebanon

Britain 'too late' to inform Turkey on missing girls

Palestinians ordered to pay over $218 million over Jerusalem attacks

French president vows tougher penalties for hate speech

More Egyptians fleeing Libya

Russia voices confidence of Iran nuclear deal

Qatar emir in US amid accusations of backing Islamist groups

Kerry, Zarif hold talks again on Iran nuclear programme

Libya parliament suspends participation in UN talks

1,000 Egyptians evacuated from Libya

Egypt jails 2011 pro-democracy activist for 5 years

Russia offers Iran missiles despite sanctions

Egypt embassy in Sanaa shut over 'bad' security