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Syrian Coalition discusses Arab League summit role in Cairo - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba reacts during a news conference in Moscow February 4, 2014. (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)

Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Al-Jarba reacts during a news conference in Moscow on February 4, 2014. (Reuters/Maxim Shemetov)

Cairo and London, Asharq Al-Awsat—Sources at the Syrian National Coalition said the group would participate in the Arab ministerial meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo on Sunday.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Coalition was awaiting a decision to allow it to take Syria’s seat at the Arab summit in Kuwait at the end of this month.

Coalition Chief Ahmed Al-Jarba and his delegation arrived in Cairo from Turkey on Saturday on a four-day visit, during which they will meet a number of Egyptian officials.

A member of the delegation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Coalition would participate in the 14th session of the Arab ministerial council to explain the latest developments in the Syrian crisis in light of the recent Geneva II meeting.

Jarba will make a speech at the Arab ministerial meeting to explore the possibility of continuing with the peace process and the possibilities of arranging a Geneva III meeting. He will also discuss the possibility of Arab League sponsorship of the Coalition meeting in Cairo later this month.

In the meantime, Jarba held a meeting with Arab League Secretary-General, Nabil Elaraby, at the headquarters of the Arab League. The two parties discussed the latest developments in the Syrian conflict following the failure of the two rounds of talks in Geneva between the opposition and the Syrian government.

According to senior sources at the Coalition, Elaraby said that the Arab League considered the Coalition to be “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” and that it would represent Syria at the Arab summit scheduled to begin in Kuwait at the end of this month.

Asharq Al-Awsat has also learnt that Haitham Al-Maleh, a member of Coalition, will participate in the Kuwait summit on March 25 and 26, according to a Coalition memo on the subject of the conference.

However, while the Coalition has been allowed to take part in Arab League meetings, the issue of it officially taking the Syrian seat in the organization has yet to be settled.

Meanwhile, independent Syrian opposition activist Imad Hasri, told Asharq Al-Awsat that he held a meeting with Arab League and UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

He said they discussed the role of civil society inside Syria to “implement the ceasefire” and praised the Saudi government’s decision to add the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Nusra Front to its list of terrorist groups.

Hasri, an activist in the Syrian Civil Society Alliance, said the meeting with other civil society leaders discussed the international talks at the Geneva II conference, and the possibility of implementing the measures agreed at the previous conference on the Syrian conflict, Geneva I.

He added that the meeting also discussed the role of Syrian civil society in acting as a mediator to implement the ceasefire, form joint committees to visit the prisons and detention centers of both sides, and help the injured and the besieged to move freely.

Hasri concluded: “We have put forward a near-comprehensive plan to implement the initial steps to move to a political solution.” He added that: “The idea was that to reach a political solution, civil society . . . must be activated to be the main and only sponsor of any political solution.”

Sawsan Abu Husein contributed additional reporting from Cairo.