Britain Recognizes Syrian Opposition as Sole Representative

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Britain on Tuesday recognized Syria's newly formed opposition coalition as the sole representative of the Syrian people, becoming the latest Western country to give its backing to the group.

Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament he took the decision after he met coalition leaders in London on Friday and they assured him that they have backing inside Syria and would respect human rights.

Hague said he has asked the group to appoint a political representative to Britain and he announced an increase in aid and support for the coalition as it battles the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"On the basis of the assurances I received and my consultation with European partners yesterday, Her Majesty's Government has decided to recognize the National Coalition of the Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people," Hague said.

"They have much to do to win the full support of the Syrian people and to coordinate opposition efforts more effectively," he added.

"But it is strongly in the interests of Syria, of the wider region and of the United Kingdom that we support them and deny space to extremist groups."

Britain's move comes one week after France became the first Western country to recognize the coalition. Britain and France played a leading role in efforts to oust Libya's leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The first countries to recognize the coalition were the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, which did so on November 12.

Turkey recognized the coalition as the sole representative of the Syrian people last Thursday.

The European Union and Italy on Monday recognized the coalition as "legitimate representatives" of the Syrian people, but not the sole one. Italy took the same step on Monday.

Comments 2
Missing gabby9 20 November 2012, 16:03

You are through ya Bashar. Pack your bags.....if you can get out.

Default-user-icon Murad (Guest) 20 November 2012, 17:26

"They have much to do to win the full support of the Syrian people" but somehow they are still "the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people". How?