RIYADH - The Gulf Cooperation Council said Monday its six member states have decided to recognise the newly formed National Coalition of the Syrian opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
"The states of the council announce recognising the National Coalition for the Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition... as the legitimate representative of the brotherly Syrian people," GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani said in a statement.
The GCC comprises Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.
The statement said the GCC was "looking forward to Arab states and the international community recognising the coalition."
Zayani said the nations of the oil-rich bloc would support the new body which was formed on Sunday after marathon talks in Doha to unite the opposition against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
"Council states will provide support to this new entity, in order to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people, in hope that this (coalition) will be a step towards a quick political transfer of power," Zayani said.
The GCC secretary general also said he hoped that the formation of the new coalition "would lead to ending the bloodshed, protect the territorial unity of Syria, and to hold a general national congress to pave the way to build a state ruled by law and open to all its citizens without exceptions or discrimination."
The deal to form a broad-based opposition to take the uprising forward drew a warm welcome from Western governments that had expressed frustration with the leadership divisions that have plagued the revolt against Assad's regime.