SNC to discuss interim govt formation in Turkey

Ahram Online , Thursday 4 Apr 2013

Istanbul hosts Syrian National Council meeting over a series of top-priority issues, including the formation of a new government

Moaz Al-Khatib
Moaz Al-Khatib, head of the Syrian National Coalition, attends the Arab League summit in Doha in this March 26, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

The Syrian National Council (SNC) will hold new meetings on Thursday in the Turkish capital Istanbul to discuss the formation of a new cabinet, refugees' crisis, and results of the late Arab League summit.

Ahmed Ramadan, member of the SNC's Executive Office, said that the meetings will involve mechanisms of "developing the relationship" with the Arab League, especially Saudi Arabia and Egypt, along with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in all the Syrian cities , Germany's DPA news agency reported.

"We will also examine the formation of the new cabinet under the leadership of Gassan Hitto; the SNC has suggestions regarding the number of portfolios and the government's role on the domestic front" , Ramadan added.

On 19 March, the SNC choose Ghassan Hitto, little-known American-educated IT manager and activist, to head an interim government to administer areas seized by rebel forces from President Bashar Assad's troops.

In ballots case by the SNC's 63 active members , Ghassan Hitto received 35 votes out of 48, held during a meeting in Istanbul.

According to the Associated Press, the results were read aloud by coalition member Hisham Marwa to applause from a few dozen of his colleagues who had waited until after 1 am to hear the results.

Syria's main anti-regime opposition bloc announced last week its efforts to gain the seat of Damascus in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), after SNC Ahmed Moaz Al-Khatib took Syria's seat during the Arab League summit in Doha.

In a related development, the SNC's Vice President, George Sabra, told Al-Arabiya about promises" from Arab and Islamic states concerning this issue, pointing out that gaining an OIC seat reflects support of 57 OIC member-states ahead of a similar endeavour at the United Nations.

However, no formal move is expected before the new UN General Assembly convenes in September, AFP reported.

Last August, the 57-member Islamic organisation suspended Syria's membership during its summit, with OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu saying the move sent "a strong message" to the ruling regime of Al-Assad.

The summit issued a statement at the end of the summit, held in the Saudi city of Mecca, which stipulates the "need to end immediately the acts of violence in Syria and to suspend that country from the OIC."

The statement also expressed "deep concern at the massacres and inhuman acts suffered by the Syrian people."

The two-year uprising against Al-Assad's regime has turned into a bloodbath, with the death of more than 70,000 people.

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