Foreign Minister H E Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari before the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo yesterday.
DOHA: Qatar yesterday called for an immediate halt to killings in Syria and transfer of power to its people in accordance with their aspirations.
Feet-dragging on the question of Syrian people realising their aspirations is unacceptable, Qatar said, taking part in a key Arab League meeting in Cairo. It welcomed the upcoming Geneva II conference to be held to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.
The Foreign Minister H E Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Chairman of the Arab ministerial commission on Syria, addressing the meet hailed the role of Arab League in helping resolve the Syrian crisis.
Al Attiyah said that the Syrian people were still looking up to fellow Arab nations for more help to achieve their legitimate aspirations, QNA reported.
Al Attiyah’s remarks were made at the extraordinary ministerial meeting of the Arab League which is discussing preparations for the Geneva II conference.
He reiterated Qatar’s firm position which calls for immediate halt to the killings and violence against civilians, and for realising the Syrian people’s desire for transfer of power.
Qatar’s position is also based on supporting all Arab and international efforts which are conducive to achieving the objectives of the Syrian people. And hence, Qatar welcomed Geneva II conference to reach a solution to the crisis, he said.
However, he noted there should be a solid, unified Arab position on negotiations at the conference. The meeting should not be used as another opportunity for procrastination and buying time, the means followed by the Syrian regime from the start of the crisis, but the conference should aim at realising the desire of the Syrian people in reaching an immediate political settlement conducive to setting up a transitional authority to which all military and security powers must be transferred, and to ending the crisis, Al Attiyah said.
The Foreign Minister said those objectives cannot be realised while the Syrian regime’s troops continued killing and violence and as long as the refugees inside and outside their country are left to their fate.
The Arab League should, as per the 8th chapter of the UN Charter, shoulder its legal and moral commitments to the Syrian people via seeking UN guarantees, especially through the five permanent UN Security Council veto-wielding powers so that a ceasefire must join the peace negotiations and buffer areas should be set up to help the return of refugees, and ensure continued aid and humanitarian assistance to all affected Syrian areas, Al Attiyah added.
Meanwhile, Arab League Chief Nabil Al Arabi said in comments broadcast live on Egyptian state television that the meeting aimed to “encourage” the Syrian opposition to attend the Geneva II talks, which are backed by the United States and Russia.
“The minsters are asked today to provide all the support to the (opposition Syrian) National Coalition in order to encourage it to participate in Geneva II,” Arabi said. Syria’s opposition has refused to attend unless President Bashar Al Assad’s resignation is on the table — a demand rejected by Damascus.
UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has said that Geneva II would not be possible without the participation of the Syrian opposition.
The Syrian opposition set terms for attending peace talks. Syrian National Coalition President Ahmad Jarba said the opposition would not attend unless there was a clear timeframe for President Bashar Al Assad to leave power. He also said they could not accept the presence of Iran.
“We have decided not to enter Geneva talks unless it is with dignity, and unless there is a successful transfer of power with a specific timeframe, and without the occupier Iran at the negotiating table,” Jarba said.
There is also discord among world powers over whether Iran should be invited to the talks.
Jarba urged the League to “take a clear decision on the delivery of weapons to the Syrian rebels”, adding “we are ready to provide all the guarantees that they would not fall into wrong hands”.
The Syrian National Coalition has said it plans to meet on November 9 to decide whether to attend, but the Syrian National Council, a key member of the bloc, has threatened to quit if it does so.