Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said the Russian veto at the UN Security Council had given the Syrian regime license to continue its campaign of killings and genocide against its people.
Addressing the Istanbul meeting, he reiterated the Kingdom’s call to arm the opposition to confront Bashar Assad’s “crimes against humanity.”
Prince Saud said Kofi Annan’s peace mission as a UN envoy would not be successful unless supported by a strong Security Council resolution, reflecting its role as a protector of global peace and stability.
The UN council should press the Syrian regime to stop all acts of violence immediately, the Saudi minister said.
“Although we held a number of meetings, we have unfortunately failed to reach practical solutions to provide the Syrian people with the protection they need,” the minister said.
“They believe it would be a turning point in terms of reducing their suffering and providing them with maximum support to strengthen their self-defense,” he said.
A leading Syrian rebel, meanwhile, hit out at the “Friends of Syria” conference, saying such meetings “prolonged” the life of-Assad’s regime. “We want leaders to work for an immediate end to the killings and not take decisions that extend the life of the regime,” Free Syrian Army military council secretary Capt. Ammar Al-Wawi said.
Western and Arab nations in Istanbul called for Assad to be given a deadline to meet the terms of Kofi Annan’s peace plan. The conference also urged the UN to act to stop the violence, but steered clear of backing opposition appeals for arms to fight the regime clampdown.