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Syrian rebels call Peace Prize 'premature'

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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-10-11

Syria’s ruling party welcomed the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons but the opposition called the decision 'premature'.

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the body investigating the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad was welcomed by Syria’s ruling Baath party, which claimed it gave the government credibility, but criticised by Syria’s opposition as “a premature step”.

"If this prize is seen as if the chemical weapons inspections in Syria will help foster peace in Syria and in the region, it's a wrong perception,'' Louay Safi, a senior figure in Syria's main opposition bloc, told The Associated Press from Qatar.

`Demolishing the regime's chemical weapons alone will not bring peace to Syria, because many more people are dying because Assad's troops are killing them with all types of conventional weapons.''

But Fayez Sayegh, a member of parliament for the ruling party, said the award underscored the credibility of the Damascus government and showed Syria was ``giving an example to countries that have chemical and nuclear weapons''.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons most recently came to world attention with its continuing investigation of chemical attacks on August 21 on civilians in the suburbs of Damascus.

International reaction to the award was largely positive. French President François Hollande said it justified his government’s policies: "The Nobel prize is a vindication of all that France, and not just France, has done in the last few weeks to denounce the use of chemical weapons and to eliminate them in the near future."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, ``Like the United Nations, the mission of the OPCW was born from a fundamental abhorrence at the atrocities of war. Together, we must ensure that the fog of war will never again be composed of poison gas.''

Meanwhile, the Pakistani Taliban welcomed the decision not to award the prize to one of its victims, Malala Yousafzai. A spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, told AFP the 16-year-old had done nothing to deserve the Nobel.

"We are delighted that she didn't get it. She did nothing big so it's good that she didn't get it," Shahid said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

 

Date created : 2013-10-11

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