Members of the radical Syrian opposition have boycotted a meeting in Cairo, where some 250 delegates are discussing an internationally backed transition plan. The armed rebels branded it a conspiracy and said the agenda lacked an aggressive stance.
The rebel Free Syrian Army and "independent" activists lashed out at the organizers of the two-day conference for “rejecting the idea of a foreign military intervention to save the people… and ignoring the question of buffer zones protected by the international community, humanitarian corridors, an air embargo and the arming of rebel fighters."
The boycotters said they refused “all kind of dialogue and negotiation with the killer gangs… and we will not allow anyone to impose on Syria and its people the Russian and Iranian agendas.”
The meeting in the Egyptian capital brought together mostly members of the exiled wing of the Syrian opposition, the Syrian National Council (SNC), as well as representatives from France, Tunisia and Turkey.
The Cairo event is to be closely followed by a visit of the Syrian opposition delegation to Moscow on Wednesday and Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. Next week the head of the SNC Abdulbaset Sieda may arrive in the Russian capital to meet Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The Syrian opposition is mulling a proposition for a transition in the country, which was voiced by international negotiators in Geneva on Saturday. The plan is to form a transition government, which would include representatives from both the current government in Damascus and opposition members.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said an initial version of the document read “those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardise stability and reconciliation,” but the phrase was dropped out of the final communiqué on Russia’s insistence and replaced by a reference to “mutual consent” of the parties involved.
“It didn’t fit in into the principle of inclusiveness and the UN Charter article on non-interference into domestic issues of sovereign states,” he said, adding that the composition of the would-be government has to be decided by the Syrians alone.
But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes even in the new version the document implies that Assad has to go.
There is "no way anyone in the opposition would ever consent to Assad or his inside regime cronies with blood on their hands being on any transitional governing body," she commented.