Friends of Syria to meet in Morocco on Dec 12: minister

AFP , Tuesday 20 Nov 2012

The Friends of Syria group will hold a meeting in the southern Moroccan city of Marrakesh on December 12

The Friends of Syria group which supports the opposition is to meet in the southern Moroccan city of Marrakesh on December 12, the foreign ministry announced on Tuesday.

"The fourth ministerial meeting of the 'group of friends of the Syrian people' will take place on December 12 in Marrakesh," the ministry said.

Diplomatic sources in Rabat said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be among those attending.

The meeting, which had been due to take place in October, follows previous meetings of the group in Tunis, Istanbul and Paris, bringing together senior officials from countries supporting the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

More than 100 delegations, including members of Syria's new opposition coalition, will take part in the Marrakesh meeting, focused on "ways of ensuring a political transition, and of mobilising vital humanitarian aid," the ministry said.

The group, which includes Western and Arab countries, last met in Paris in July.

Britain on Tuesday became the latest country to formally recognise the newly-formed opposition bloc as the sole representative of the Syrian people, after France, Turkey and the Gulf monarchies.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, said he feared the militarisation of the conflict in Syria could turn the country into a "regional battleground."

Activists put the death toll from more than 20 months of conflict at more than 39,000, most of them civilians.

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