Syrian National Coalition Discusses Transitional Government
The Syrian National Coalition began meetings in Istanbul on Saturday in their second attempt to establish a transitional government in rebel-held parts of Syria. Agreement within the group could assuage international fears that Assad’s fall could deepen sectarian or ethnic divides in Syria. Concerns about the viability of a government at this time have prevented agreement within the coalition. In an effort to address these doubts, SNC President Moaz Alkhatib flew to Qatar today to get commitments of financial support for the transitional government. Coalition member Ahmad Ramadan said, ”There is agreement on the need to establish a transitional government but the majority opinion favors not to form it now without secure areas to operate in and enough international support and guarantees for direct recognition.” More talks are planned for the coalition in Paris on January 28.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem invited the “nationalistic opposition” to join talks to form a new government on the condition that they reject foreign intervention. The SNC supports foreign involvement in the transition and demands President Bashar al-Assad‘s removal from office, another point on which the Syrian government refuses to compromise. ”No one should dare discuss the position of the president… this is unacceptable,” Mr. Muallem said.