Syrian opposition will attend Tunis conference

AFP , Monday 20 Feb 2012

Syrian opposition groups will take part in an international conference on the crisis in Syria on Friday

"The Syrian National Council and other opposition groups will be represented at the Tunis meeting," Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdessalem said to reporters on Monday following a meeting of foreign ministers from Mediterranean region states in Rome.

"There has been enough killing. There must be radical political change," Abdessalem said after meeting with his counterparts from Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal and Spain, warning against an "Iraqi scenario".

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." "I don't think any Arab country is going to ask for military intervention (in Syria). European countries don't want it either," he said.

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."

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said of the meeting: "It has to be inclusive. Of course the opposition has to be present." Abdessalem had said in Tunis on Friday that the SNC, the largest opposition group in strife-ridden Syria, would not be officially represented at the conference.

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