The “Friends of the Syrian people” meeting tried on Sunday to intensify the pressure on the regime in Damascus, who relentlessly pursues its deadly shelling on urban areas, ignoring an international peace plan it had accepted. The Syrian regime lengthens “the long list of broken promises” by launching new offensives against Syrian cities as it has done to the Annan plan to end the crisis, said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at this conference, which saw the attendance of more than 70 countries and the Syrian opposition.
“Almost a week has passed and we must conclude that the regime extends its long list of broken promises,” Clinton said, according to remarks prepared in advance, distributed by the U.S. State Department.
Expressing the same impatience, the head of French diplomacy, Alain Juppe, stressed the need to “set a time table” to the Damascus regime to implement the Annan Plan. “There is a risk of stagnation, of course, and we can see the tactics of the regime that is to earn time. This is why we must, and we all agree on that, set a deadline to this mission” of the international envoy Kofi Annan, said Mr. Juppe.
The Annan plan calls for the cessation of all violence by all parties under UN supervision, the provision of humanitarian assistance to areas affected by fighting and the release of detainees.
The Friends of the Syrian people is to recognize the Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition group, as the representative of the Syrian people and call upon all Syrian opponents to join this coalition, said Mr. Juppe.
“We must support the right of self defense of the Syrians who face repression if the UN fails to act, said the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at the opening session.
“If the (UN) Security Council again misses the historic opportunity, there will be no choice for the international community but to support the legitimate right of self-defense of the Syrian people”, he said.
The head of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi, also called on participants to put pressure on the Security Council to implement “binding” measures against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Erdogan warned that his country would refuse to support a plan that would keep the current Syrian regime intact.
But at the same time, in Baghdad, Iraqi Prime Minister assured that the Syrian regime would not fall, and that efforts seeking to overthrow it by force would only exacerbate the crisis in the region. “It’s been a year and the Syrian regime has not fallen. It will not fall and why should it fall? We are against sending arms (to the opposition) and any process leading to the overthrow of the regime because it would worsen the crisis in the region,” warned Nuri al-Maliki
On his part, Burhan Ghalioun, the President of the SNC announced that his group would start to pay salaries to members of the Free Syrian Army, fighting against Damascus: “The SNC will take over the payment of fixed salaries of all officers, soldiers and resistance members of the FSA. “