In response to rumors circulating on Lebanese media affiliated to the Syrian regime that the Syrian National Coalition delegation to New York was a failure, the Coalition ambassador in New York, Najib al-Ghadban outlined details of some important meetings held at highest levels.
Ghadban said the delegation met with nearly twenty Ministers of Foreign Affairs, including from the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and with his highness the Emir of Qatar, along with other ambassadors and U.N. officials .
In an email statement, Ghadban said "the most important activity carried out by the delegation was the speech to the head of the delegation in the presence of all delegation members and officials working in the New York office and in front of the Friends of the Syrian people, where representatives of nearly 114 countries were in attendance. Many of them attended at the level of Foreign Ministers, within the United Nations building, despite fierce opposition from Russia and some of its allies in the United Nations.".
Ghadban added that the delegation attended the Arab ministerial meeting at the Foreign Ministers level, setting an important precedent that emphasized the Arab League's recognition of the Syrian National Coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
In addition, he said, some members of the delegation joined two meetings with the Group of 11 of the Friends of the Syrian people, holding serious discussions on several topics, including how to deal with negative global media coverage of events in Syria.
There were two meetings held with Syria U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and his team, and another with the Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil ElArabi and his deputies, and finally, the Secretary General of the U.N., Ban ki-Moon received some members of the delegation at his residence, in the presence of his deputies and Brahimi, Ghadban said.
He added that the delegation was clear in expressing its "dissatisfaction with limiting the discussion about the project to chemical weapons while ignoring the regime's crimes using conventional arms, in addition to that the decision that the resolution will not fall under Chapter VII, and it does not include a clear mechanism for accountability."
"The outcome of the final decision reflected the minimum agreement between the five permanent U.N. members, and it is the first resolution issued on Syria from the Security Council. Despite our conviction that this decision does not live up to the minimum of what we hoped for, the importance of it is that it may be the beginning to the end of the paralysis of the Security Council, and the five countries can work on another agreement on the delivery of humanitarian aid.The decision itself opens up the possibility of a follow-up process, and may give a cover for military action in the future," he said.
On the Geneva II Conference Ghadban said that the Coalition supports "a political solution that achieves the aspirations of the Syrian people in the departure of Bashar Assad and his criminal regime, and puts the country on the path of democratic transition."
The delegation presented in all of its meetings an "understanding" that the subject of the Geneva conference is applying the first statement of Geneva 1, "which means the formation of a full authority transitional government, including the military and security files, which means that Assad has no role in the transitional nor the future stages for the country," he said."
The delegation stressed that it would not go to any conference that does not specify a framework for this. The delegation also stressed that the issue of accountability against those who have committed crimes against humanity must be part of any political solution," Ghadban said.
He said the Coalition will not accept any intervention on the formation of its delegation, especially from the Russian side. Alhough the Coalition may consider including representatives from other parties, it remains the Coalition's responsibility in order to represent the majority of the revolutionary forces, the military and political components of the community that fall under the banner of the revolution, Ghadban said.
The head of the delegation had put forward the idea that the four main countries supporting the Syrian revolution through their foreign ministers – namely Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar – should invite the Coalition officially to attend the conference. If they agreed that it fulfills the aspirations of the Syrian Revolution, and that attending the conference is for the interest of Syria and the Arab World, then the Arab League should provide an Arab cover for any negotiating process, based on the supportive attitudes adopted by the League. The suggestion was made to these countries and it was welcomed, Ghadban explained.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer