Syrian opposition condemn Syria FM's visit to Saudi Arabia
The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces on Thursday stated that the Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad’s visit to the kingdom "complicates the political process" and is "not an option for Syria".
Mekdad landed in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah on Wednesday in the first visit by a senior Syrian diplomat to the kingdom in more than a decade, a major sign that Syria's regional isolation is nearing an end.
Gulf heavyweight Saudi Arabia cut ties with Damascus amid Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's brutal crackdown on peaceful protests in 2011, and backed rebel groups that fought to remove Assad from power. Syria was also suspended from the Arab League.
"Any strengthening of the war criminal's authority in Syria will lead to them committing more massacres and crimes against humanity against Syrians who are still clinging to their revolution and their rightful demands to overthrow the regime, put it on trial, and build a free Syria," the coalition said.
"[The regime] did not seriously engage in any political process related to the Syrian issue, but deliberately procrastinated and obstructed every step towards the implementation of international resolutions," it added.
The opposition coalition therefore stressed for states to "stand up to their moral and human responsibilities to renounce the war criminal, punish it, and isolate it from any international or regional forum and meeting", in reference to the regime and its leader President Bashar al-Assad.
It also called on Saudi Arabia to review its position on the regime, and "stand firm on the honourable positions of the Kingdom regarding the necessity of isolating it and holding it accountable for the crimes it committed against the Syrian people".
The resumption of Saudi-Syrian ties marked the most significant development in moves by Arab states to normalize links with Assad. It comes weeks after Mekdad met with the top diplomats of Egypt and Jordan, also for the first time in over a decade.
Assad, with the help of his main allies Iran and Russia, regained control over much of Syria, and Saudi Arabia has said isolating him was not working.
In a joint statement at the end of Wednesday's visit, both sides agreed on the need for the Syrian state to assert its control over all its territories "and end the presence of armed militias".
The on-going Syrian conflict has resulted in over 500,000 deaths, the majority of which were at the hands of regime and Russian bombardment.