CAIRO - The Arab League welcomed on Monday the formation of a
new Syrian opposition group, but stopped short of giving it full recognition as
the representative of the Syrian people.
With some Arab states still
reluctant to completely abandon Syrian President Bashar Assad, Arab League
foreign ministers meeting in Cairo were unable to state clearly that the new
Syrian National Coalition was the sole legitimate Syrian voice.
of Syria's exiled opposition, beset by bickering and questions about how much
influence they have on the ground, formed the new coalition on Sunday that is
now seeking international recognition as a government-in-waiting.
Arab League ministerial council welcomes the agreement that the Syrian
opposition parties reached ... and calls on the other opposition parties to join
this coalition," said Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin
Jassim, reading the meeting's final resolution late on Monday.
ministers "urged regional and international organisations to recognise it as a
legitimate representative for the aspirations of the Syrian people," and called
it "a legitimate representative and a primary negotiator with the Arab League."
That was less clear than a statement by the six Sunni Muslim-ruled kingdoms of
the Gulf Cooperation Council - which are also Arab League members - that the
coalition was "the legitimate representative of the Syrian
"Reservations on the document came from Iraq and Algeria," said
one League official, talking on condition of anonymity.
reservation was not clear but Algeria ... asked for more time before the Arab
League can start dialogue with the opposition coalition. Algeria also had a
reservation on the fact that this coalition did not represent all the opposition
factions," said the official.
Lebanon, according to the final statement,
refused to participate in the League's decision due to its sensitive position
and relationship with Syria.