Observations regarding the invitation to the Istanbul conference :NCB

A number of activists and opposition figures including members of NCB have received unsigned emails which call for their participation in the Syrian opposition conference to be held in Istanbul on 26 March 2012. The following names were attached to the emails: Khalid Bin Mohammad al-Attiyah – Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, and Halit Çevik – Ambassador, Ministry of State for Foreign Affairs of Turkey. The letter states that this is based on the call from the Arab States Ministerial Council issued on 12 November 2011, and the Chairman’s conclusions of the International Conference of the Friends of the Syrian People which was held in Tunisia on 24 February 2012. The letter says this is: ‘’a conference which will bring all major opposition groups and figures committed to a peaceful political transition in Syria.”

Commenting on this call, we point out the following:

First, this call is issued by two official parties (one of which is Arab) which is contrary to the Arab League resolution (although it states that this is in accordance with it). The Arab League is responsible for the implementation of that resolution and for the call to such a conference, and it has not authorised any Arab nor any non-Arab countries to act unilaterally as it not relinquished its responsibility in this regard, to our knowledge. The Arab League has given many signs that it is committed to carry out this mission, which gives this the appearance of an attempt to usurp the role of the Arab League, and suggests that Qatar and Turkey in a unique partnership are thereby pre-empting the Arab League summit planned for Baghdad.

Second, the invitation states that the conference will include the main parties in the opposition and national figures etc., which is a distortion of the truth and reality. The invitation has not been sent to the interior opposition and its main organizations and national figures, which are essential for the foundation of the new revolutionary powers in opposition. The invitation was limited to some chosen individuals who have been selected by those who are calling for this conference in Istanbul, ignoring their parties, movements and the alliances to which they belong. In effect they have already selected which representatives will attend if they decide to participate. They have completely ignored a number of parties, movements, coalitions and figures.

Third, non-Syria powers have given themselves the authority to decide who represents the Syrian opposition at this conference and for the future, and in addition those invited have been called to participate in a conference for which the political goals have been set in advance: “with a view to agreeing upon a unified vision around the Syrian National Council”. This is incompatible with the most basic of democratic principles, and reflects an effort to politically manipulate the Syrian opposition and to cram it under one ceiling of options, which not surprisingly will be in line with the views and interests of those who have called this conference rather than being consistent with the views and the best current and future interests of the Syrian people as expressed by the rebellious forces of the people and the democratic opposition inside Syria.

Fourth, unity of the Syrian opposition has become a major concern for all supporters of the revolution of freedom and dignity in Syria, as well as the Arab League countries and the international community as a whole. The Syrian reality, the reality of the revolution and in particular its power is highly complex and diverse, therefore unifying the opposition which consists of many parties who are competing in this marathon for various reasons requires elaborate and careful preparation with the participation of the various opposition parties without monopolising them, and without banning or excluding any of them, so that it will be based on solid and truly democratic foundations, and so that the outcome is well-established and reflects the rich diversity of Syrian society.

It is unacceptable to launch calls and to attempt to organize conferences involving some of the opposition parties but not others (claiming that this is the opposition as a whole) in haste, without developing a mature system to unify that is actually compatible between at least the major powers. It is feared that without including fundamental forces at least in the preparation of the political process, and without basic respect for the principles of democratic activity, and with trusteeship of one party or another (whatever the enthusiasm and passion for the interests of the Syrian people), the result will deepen the fracturing forces that bear down on the opposition, intensify contradictions, and will increase suspicion about the credibility and conviction of some of the parties regarding the value of democracy, and thus the credibility of commitment to real democratic change in the country.

In respect of each of the above, we regretfully see that the “opposition” conference being called in Istanbul is a conference of some opposition forces only, whilst the organizational and political abuse behind its organisation prevents others participating in it. We send our best wishes to those who wish to participate in this conference, for their aim of reaching the objectives for the attainment of freedom and dignity and to establish its desired democratic system, and for a positive commitment to unite the vision of all the opposition on this path.

NCB Media Bureau

25 March 2012

التصنيفات : English topics, الأخبـــــار


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