Coalition May Boycott Cairo Conference

Cairo's insistence on obtaining specific attendee names at the opposition meeting angers National Coalition members

Member of the Syrian National Coalition Bassam al-Malek said Cairo's insistence on obtaining specific participant names for the upcoming Syrian opposition meetings will "prevent us from involvement in this meeting".

"We didn’t participate in the first meeting in Cairo for this reason, and will abstain from participation in the second meeting for the same reason", Malek told Anatolia news agency.


The agency said the Egyptian Foreign Ministry was not available for comment. Local Egyptian newspapers mentioned Cairo's reservations towards the participation of Muslim Brotherhood representatives in the Syrian Coalition. Cairo considers the Brotherhood as a major decision-maker in the Coalition, though officials in the Coalition reject this view, claiming the Muslim Brotherhood’s representation does not exceed 7 percent of total membership.


The first meeting of the Syrian opposition in Cairo was held in January last year, with members of the Syrian Coalition individually selected by Cairo to participate. "The Coalition did not participate as an institution – a situation the Coalition rejects in the second meeting", according to Malek.


"We are communicating with Cairo to resolve this problem in the current Cairo conference, so that the Coalition will form a delegation to participate without any interference from Cairo, but we are yet to reach an agreement", Malek said.


Malek pointed out that if the problem persists, the participation of any individual member in the conference would be considered a violation of the Coalition's internal regulations, which require members to respect the decisions of the General Commission. "The violators will be subjected to penalties", but Malek didn’t clarify the nature of these penalties.


Syrian Coalition member Haitham al-Maleh had earlier stated: "The Coalition will be forced to hold the meeting of the opposition in another capital, if Egypt insists on preventing a number of the Coalition's leaders from entering the country. There is an Egyptian veto against some Coalition figures, which makes it difficult to hold the meeting of the Syrian opposition in Cairo".


Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer

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