Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • Flight MH17 shot down ‘by mistake', US intelligence indicates

    Read more

  • France to proceed with sale of warship to Russia, says UK should mind its' own business

    Read more

  • Conflicting rulings by two US courts cast shadow on future of Obamacare

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

Middle east

Syria opposition talks begin in Cairo

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-07-02

Syria's leading exiled opposition groups met in Cairo Monday in a bid to unite around a common blueprint for political transition in Syria, but the Free Syrian Army boycotted the meeting, denouncing it as a “conspiracy” in favour of President Assad.

AFP - Syria's main exiled opposition groups met in Cairo Monday to try to forge a common vision for a political transition in Syria after criticising a blueprint agreed by the major powers last week in a compromise with China and Russia.

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi, who chaired the meeting attended by around 250 opposition figures, urged opposition groups "not to waste this opportunity" and to "unite."

The Arab League chief also stressed the need for "a pluralist democratic system that does not discriminate between Syrians."

Nasser al-Qudwa, deputy to UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan, echoed Arabi's call.

He urged the opposition to "unify your vision and your performance."

"This is not a choice, but a necessity if the opposition wants to gain the trust of its people in Syria," Qudwa told the meeting which was also attended by the foreign ministers of Turkey, Iraq and Kuwait.

Syria's official media and an opposition group said the June 30 deal on a transition plan reached among world powers meeting in Geneva was a failure.

The Geneva summit merely "resembles an enlarged meeting of the UN Security Council, where the positions of participants remained the same", declared Al-Baath, the ruling party's newspaper.

World powers agreed on the need for a transition government in Syria but the talks stalled over the fate of President Bashar al-Assad amid Russian opposition to Western proposals that he be excluded from power.

The opposition Local Coordination Committees group, which organises anti-regime protests in Syria, said the transition accord will "give the Assad regime's gangs another chance to play for time in suppressing the popular revolution and to silence it through violence and massacres".  (Source: AFP)
 

The two-day meeting comes as violence continues in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday that more than 16,500 people have been killed in violence since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March last year.

Rebel fighters and activists based in Syria announced they would boycott the Cairo meeting, denouncing it as a "conspiracy" that served the policy goals of Damascus allies Moscow and Tehran.

"We refuse all kinds of dialogue and negotiation with the killer gangs...and we will not allow anyone to impose on Syria and its people the Russian and Iranian agendas," said a statement signed by the rebel Free Syrian Army and "independent" activists.

The signatories criticised the agenda of the Cairo talks for "rejecting the idea of a foreign military intervention to save the people... and ignoring the question of buffer zones protected by the international community, humanitarian corridors, an air embargo and the arming of rebel fighters."

The Cairo talks come after world powers meeting in Geneva on Saturday agreed a transition plan that was branded a failure by both the opposition and the Syrian state media.

The boycotters said the talks follow the "dangerous decisions of the Geneva conference, which aim to safeguard the regime, to create a dialogue with it and to form a unity government with the assassins of our children."

"The Cairo conference aims to give a new chance to envoy Kofi Annan to try again to convince Assad to implement his six-point plan... while forgetting that thousands have been martyred since the plan came into force (on April 12)," they said.

The transition plan agreed in Geneva did not make any explicit call for Assad to cede power, as urged by Western governments, after Russia and China insisted that Syrians themselves must decide how the transition takes place.

The Syrian National Council said in a statement on Sunday that "no initiative can receive the Syrian people's backing unless it specifically demands the fall of Bashar al-Assad and his clique."

Of the more than 16,500 killed since the start of the uprising, 11,486 were civilians, 4,151 government troops and 870 army defectors, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP. In its running tolls, the watchdog counts as civilians those rebel fighters who are not defectors from the army.

In violence on Monday, at least five civilians were killed, the Observatory said.

Four died in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, when the car they were travelling in was shelled. A fifth was killed when troops shelled the rebel-controlled central town of Rastan.

Date created : 2012-07-02

  • SYRIA

    Syrian opposition rejects transition plan

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria talks agree transition deal, Assad's fate left open

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syria witnessing a 'state of war', Assad tells cabinet

    Read more

COMMENT(S)