"Friends of Syria" meeting a Fiasco

23 June 2013 — Voltaire Network

The meeting of the “Friends of Syria” held on Saturday, 22 June, in Doha (Qatar), closed unsuccessfully. France, the United Kingdom and the United States had announced at the Lough Erne G8 summit that they would officially be arming the Free Syrian Army. On 14 June, the latter had provided the list of weapons and ammunition they needed.

Not only did the meeting bring together a mere 11 members out of 121, but it also came short of taking responsibility for the official delivery of weapons in violation of UN resolutions.

French President François Hollande arrived on Saturday afternoon in Doha. He did not participate personally in the conference which was held at the level of Foreign Ministers, but he kept abreast of it with the Emir.

The day before, Paulo Pinheiro, Chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Syria, stated that Western leaders would be held personally liable for the crimes committed by the “rebels” with such weapons [1].

According to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, two Member States took an formal stance against the official delivery of weapons. Accordint to his British counterpart, William Hague, the UK is one of them. London would therefore have shifted position.

To put up a good show, Fabius announced the delivery of antidotes to treat 1000 persons injured by sarin gas. Indeed, France, the United Kingdom and the United States still maintain that the Syrian government has made use of this weapon. Their “evidence,” which was submitted to Russia and the UN, has been met with skepticism since it fails to meet international standards. The G8 summit at Lough Erne decided to creat a United Nations commission of inquiry into this issue.

In their final statement, the 11 condemned the internationalization of the crisis by Iran and Hezbollah. They stressed that they have agreed to “intensify their support” to the “rebels.” As for the Qatari foreign minister, he specified that such support referred to … “secret decisions.”

[1] “Arms deliveries to ’Syrian rebels’ equally liable for crimes committed”, Voltaire Network, 22 June 2013.

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