Syrian opposition conference in Cairo marred by boycott

Syrian opposition conference in Cairo marred by boycott

Analysis: Despite non-attendance of Syrian National Coalition, delegates have stated their support for a political solution to Syria's rampaging violence.
2 min read
09 June, 2015
The Qahm Movement's Haytham Manna is attending the conference [Getty]

The second Cairo conference for Syrian opposition forces started in the Egyptian capital on 8 June, despite a boycott by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces and growing tensions among participants.

The conference started with an address by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, who confirmed his country's support for a political, rather than military, solution in Syria.

"The spread of sectarianism and chaos and the control by armed terrorist groups of most Syrian territories threatens the future of the entire region and cannot be ignored," said Shukri.

"Having a Syrian vision for a purely political solution is more important now than at any time before."

Nabil al-Arabi, secretary-general of the Arab League, also addressed the conference.

"The Syrian regime is fully responsible for what happens in Syria because of its insistence on a military solution... The solution in Syria should be a peaceful Syrian solution that reflects Syrian free will."

Although the Syrian National Coalition boycotted the conference, it is still expected to be attended by around 200 Syrian opposition figures.

Most prominent among them are Haytham Manna, the leader of the Qamh Movement and former spokesman for the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, and Ahmad Jarba, the former head of the Syrian National Coalition.

A number of Kurdish opposition figures are also in attendance in a personal capacity, in addition to independents and representatives of Syrian civil society organisations - while the Egyptian government did not invite the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to the conference.

'Nothing will come of it'

One opposition figure who wished to remain anonymous spoke to al-Araby al-Jadeed from Damascus.

"I don't believe anything new will come out of the Cairo conference, except for yet more additions to the thousands of position papers produced by the opposition throughout the life of the crisis. Nothing will come of the conference because it excludes certain opposition groups inside and outside Syria."

The Syrian state broadcaster, meanwhile, was banned from covering conference proceedings; Egyptian police reportedly ejected its correspondent from the conference hall by force.