The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a meeting on Sunday with officials from 10 other countries to discuss the situation in Syria and review the outcomes of the Friends of Syria meeting held in Rome in February.
A statement published by the ministry on Sunday night reported that representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey attended the meeting. President of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) Ahmed Moaz Al-Khatib was also in attendance.
Al-Khatib informed the participants in the meeting about the situation in Syria and updated them on recent developments within the coalition. He “also discussed the forms of support he hoped the Syrian revolution would receive from the international community”.
The officials discussed the situation in Syria, “especially with regard to increasing support extended to the Syrian opposition,” said the ministry statement. It added that this “would enable the opposition to increase pressure on the regime leading to a political settlement”. Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr has repeatedly asserted Egypt’s desire to see a political solution to the conflict. At the Arab Summit held in Qatar in March, the Arab League decided to provide the SNC with military aid.
The ministry reported that this meeting occurred following “the Syrian regime’s refusal to deal positively with all the initiatives presented to it, including [Al-Khatib’s] latest courageous offer to negotiate with members of the regime whose hands have not been tainted with the blood of the Syrian people”.
The officials “welcomed the decision by the coalition to name Ghassan Hitto as Prime Minister of the Coalition Interim Syrian Government”. Members of the SNC voted for Hitto in March, but some members of the coalition froze their membership because they did not agree with the outcome or believed that the election should not have occurred.
The participants in the meeting expressed their full support for Al-Khatib’s efforts to “achieve the goals of the Syrian revolution in attaining liberty, justice, and human dignity”. They also praised “his commitment to preserve a united and inclusive Syria for all Syrians”, and welcomed his “assurances that the coalition remains committed to building consensus amongst all Syrians”.
Al-Khatib offered his resignation to the SNC in March, just days after Hitto’s election. In a statement published on his official Facebook page he said that he was resigning in order to “can work with a freedom that cannot possibly be had in an official institution”. However the coalition rejected his resignation and he has continued in his post.