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Way cleared to arm Syria's united opposition

RIYADH/DOHA: The Gulf Cooperation Council yesterday recognized the newly formed National Coalition of the Syrian opposition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
“The states of the council announce recognizing the National Coalition for the Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition ... as the legitimate representative of the brotherly Syrian people,” GCC chief Abdullatif Al-Zayani said.
The statement said the GCC was “looking forward to Arab states and the international community recognizing the coalition.”
“Council states will provide support to this new entity, in order to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people, in hope that this (coalition) will be a step toward a quick political transfer of power,” Al-Zayani said.
The GCC secretary-general also said he hoped that the formation of the new coalition “would lead to ending the bloodshed, protect the territorial unity of Syria, and to hold a general national congress to pave the way to build a state ruled by law and open to all its citizens without exceptions or discrimination.”
The united opposition launched a push for diplomatic recognition yesterday at a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani said he would press fellow Arab ministers to recognize the new coalition.
“We will seek a full recognition of this new body,” he said before arriving in Cairo along with the Coalition’s newly installed leader, Ahmed Moaz Al-Khatib.
Qatari Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Khaled Al-Attiya said recognition would remove any obstacles to the opposition’s securing arms for rebel fighters on the ground.
“When they get the legitimacy from the international arena they can go and contract whatever they want themselves, because they would be recognized as full legitimate government whether in exile or whether inside Syria,” he said in an interview to be aired on Al-Jazeera television.
Please read a related story on Page 7

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