Opposition will attend Friends of Syria conference, report


Beirut, Lebanon – The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) will attend the Friends of Syria conference due to be held on February 24 in Tunisia, a member of the group said on Monday.

‘We were invited and we will attend,’ Naji Tayyara, head of foreign relations at the SNC, told dpa from Dubai.

‘At first there was an objection on our attendance by Russia and China, but Arab members insists on our presence,’ Tayyara said.

Reports last week had quoted Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalam as saying that the Syrian opposition would not be invited to the conference.

Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem also confirmed that the Syrian opposition groups will take part in the iInternational conference on the crisis in Syria on Friday.

“The Syrian National Council and other opposition groups will be represented at the Tunis meeting,” Abdessalem told reporters on Monday

“There has been enough killing. There must be radical political change,” Abdessalem said after meeting in Rome with his counterparts from Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal and Spain.

Abdessalem said participants at the Rome meeting of the so-called “5+5” states had agreed on the need to defend Syria’s territorial unity: “We don’t want an Iraqi scenario… We have to preserve the integrity of Syria.”

Referring to the “Friends of Syria” conference on Friday, he added: “We believe that on the 24th of this month, we shall send a strong message to the Syrian government.”