Syrian Opposition Plans for ‘Orderly Transition’ to Defected PM

The Syrian opposition is planning for an orderly transition in Syria, including a role for former Prime Minister Riad Hijab. 

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syrian national coalition, us, un, transitional syrian parliament, transitional government, syrian opposition, syrian national council, syrian crisis, russia, riad hijab, negotiations, bashar al-assad

Jan 14, 2013

Sources in the Syrian opposition told Al-Hayat that the Syrian opposition has been intensifying its efforts to form an interim government “in the upcoming period.” The opposition also seeks to place defecting Prime Minister Riad Hijab at the top of the presidency candidates’ list.
As part of its mission, the new government will begin negotiations with the regime to form a transitional government, should the American-Russian agreement be implemented, the sources added.

This issue has been raised among other issues during the meeting of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (Syrian National Coalition) with a number of representatives and ambassadors from countries that support the Syrian opposition.  The meeting was held in London on Wednesday [Jan.9] and Thursday [Jan.10] at the invitation of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

The sources added that George Sabra, president of the Syrian National Council (SNC) and vice president of the National Coalition, outlined his vision for the transitional period, which will be “based on an orderly transition, where  state institutions will continue to manage their work. The army will withdraw to its barricades, while civilians will be disarmed and focus will be shifted to national unity and reconstruction.”

In a statement, the National Coalition said that its representatives “confirmed that they seek to implement the transition period with minimal human and material losses, while preserving the principles and foundations of the revolution and the continuity of state institutions.  They will also work and cooperate with political dissidents.”

Furthermore, the opposition-affiliated sources said that the announcement of this anticipated government remains pending, awaiting the new administration of President Barack Obama to take over work by the end of the month. However, it should be noted that Washington remains “cautious” about this issue, given its previous experience with the SNC and the transition of administrative works. This is especially true now that John Kerry has been assigned to the State Department, replacing Hillary Clinton.

The sources added that the anticipated government seeks to be the political authority of the armed opposition. The opposition’s financing channels, whether armed or political, are to be unified as well as the military action of the General Staff. The government to be formed is keen to offer humanitarian assistance to refugees and displaced people and will also monitor the work of local councils operating under the opposition in the north of the country. The National Coalition called upon the international community “to fulfill its promises to support the unity of local councils.”

In the London meeting, the coalition’s representatives said that “substantive units of technocrats will form the nucleus of every ministry in the future government. These units will develop a structure and operational plan in coordination with technocrats from existing ministries.”

Among other tasks, the anticipated government will also assign a prominent figure to contact major states supporting Syria’s political and diplomatic issues, the sources said.

It is also known that the coalition has demanded that the seats at the Arab League and the United Nations [previously reserved for the Syrian regime] be delivered to this new government along with seized funds.

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