50-member Syrian opposition body emerges from Riyadh meeting

Updated 24 November 2017
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50-member Syrian opposition body emerges from Riyadh meeting

RIYADH: Syrian opposition leaders gathering in Riyadh have decided to form a new, 50-member High Negotiation Committee (HNC).
The final communique said the aim of the conference was to unify the opposition for a political solution based on the 2012 Geneva Declaration and UN Security Council resolutions, in order to prepare for a transitional period that leads Syria to a decentralized, civil, democratic and pluralistic political system.
The Geneva Declaration calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, which can include members of the current Syrian regime.
The opposition leaders stressed the multiculturalism and territorial unity of Syria, and vowed to preserve its institutions and hold accountable all those who have committed crimes against the Syrian people.
The participants agreed to negotiate directly with the Syrian regime in order to “establish a transitional governing authority capable of preparing a neutral environment within which the transitional process can move,” on condition that President Bashar Assad and his regime leave office at the start of the transition. The participants also approved the organizational structure and procedural rules of the HNC.
Col. Ismael Ayoub, who defected to the opposition from the Syrian Air Force, told Arab News that Kurdish and Turkmen representatives complained that they were not sufficiently included. But he said this was one of the most successful Syrian opposition conferences.
In the communique, opposition representatives said a peaceful and unbiased transition “will not happen without the departure of Bashar Assad and his cronies and the repression machine at the start of the transition period.”
Ahmed Ramadan, an opposition member of the Syrian National Council (SNC), said it is now up to the regime to show seriousness.
“The message today is that we have a unified vision when it comes to negotiations,” he told The Associated Press (AP).
A Cairo-based opposition group agreed on Thursday to join ranks with other opposition groups and send a unified delegation to Geneva.
“The Cairo group has joined the main opposition delegation to Geneva,” Ramadan told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
 


GCC nations commence enhanced security patrols across the region

Updated 23 min 19 sec ago
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GCC nations commence enhanced security patrols across the region

  • The patrols are aimed at increasing communication and coordination
  • GCC fleets working in tight coordination with each other and the US Navy

LONDON: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations commenced enhanced security patrols across the region in international waters on May 18, according to a statement from the US Naval Forces Central Command (5th Fleet).

The patrols are aimed at increasing communication and coordination with the GCC nations in support of regional naval cooperation and maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.

As agreed to last week in a meeting at US 5th Fleet headquarters in Manama, Bahrain, ships of the GCC - both navies and coast guards - are working in tight coordination with each other and the US Navy.