Syrian Opposition Agrees to Attend “Friends of Syria” Meeting in Rome on Thursday

by Colonel on February 25, 2013

“The Syrian opposition has agreed to attend an international summit in Rome, after the US and UK “promised specific aid” to the Syrian people.

The group had previously announced it would boycott the talks because of “the world’s silence” over the violence.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Minister William Hague earlier confirmed there would be more support for Syria’s opposition.

Mr Kerry was in London as part of his first foreign trip since taking office.

The Syrian opposition’s announcement came amid reports of a deadly explosion and heavy fighting in an eastern part of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

” — Copyright 2013 BBC

“Opposition leaders had protested what they see as inaction by other nations in the face of violence from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Kerry not only made a public plea at a joint news conference Monday with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, he also called Moaz Khatib, leader of the Syrian Opposition Council, “to encourage him to come to Rome,” a senior U.S. official said. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, described the conversation as “good” but declined to offer more detail.

Spokesman Walid al-Bunni said the council had decided to send a delegation to Rome after all.

Al-Bunni told Al-Arabiya TV the decision was made based on guarantees al-Khatib heard from western diplomats that the conference would be different and that the opposition would receive real commitments this time.

” — Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

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