MIDDLE EAST

‘The real problem is the Syrian opposition,’ says veteran dissident

Veteran Syrian dissident Michel Kilo speaking to Al Arabiya earlier on in the Syrian conflict. (File photo: Al Arabiya)

Veteran dissident Michel Kilo said in an interview with Al Arabiya on Tuesday that the “real problem” with the Syrian conflict was now the opposition, lashing out at the Syrian National Coalition (SNC).

Political stalemate has struck the opposition after the SNC failed to agree on participating in a U.S.-Russian peace initiative despite a week of talks.

“The real, real, real problem is in the Coalition,” Marxist intellectual Kilo said, speaking two days after a vote to expand the Coalition.

The vote is a key item of the group’s agenda.

But the opposition has long been marred by internal divisions and bickering, giving rise to doubts over its ability to present a united front with the proposed peace talks ahead.

The vote Monday formalized the entry of Kilo into the opposition National Coalition. He had initially proposed a list of 22 candidates but only five of his choices made it in.

Kilo also warned the Coalition that he would “expose” its secrets if they did not reach an agreement by the end of Thursday.

The Coalition’s main backer is currently Qatar and it was formed in Doha last November.

“It has never been our style to rely on ambassadors, or on states, or on political money,” Kilo told Al Arabiya.

“Nor did we go to Qatar to set up a coalition,” he added.

Though still in Istanbul, it was unclear early Wednesday whether Kilo would stay on in the Coalition.

Kilo also expressed anger at “this way of working, with (the U.S.-Russian initiative) Geneva (peace talks) round the corner, with Europe wanting to lift its arms embargo, with the crisis that is raging inside (Syria)”.

An EU ministers meeting in Brussels Monday lifted an arms embargo on Syria in order to allow weapons to be channeled to the rebels.

But no state would start shipping weapons until August, in order to give the peace initiative a chance.

Syria’s government on Tuesday slammed the EU decision to lift a ban on supplying arms to rebel fighters as an “obstruction” of efforts to resolve the conflict in the country peacefully.

“The European Union’s decision exposes... its obstruction of international efforts to achieve a political settlement to the crisis in Syria,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement published by state news agency SANA, according to AFP new agency.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 29 May 2013 KSA 10:24 - GMT 07:24
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