By Ahmad Azizi
By Ahmad Azizi
Morocco World News
New York, December 11, 2012
The 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People, which will be held Wednesday in Marrakesh, will focus primarily on the latest developments in the Syrian crisis, the path of the crisis and how to mobilize international support to end the suffering of civilians.
The meeting was due to take place in October but was postponed in light of the formation at that time of the new Syrian opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Coalition of the Revolution Forces and the Opposition (CNS). Wednesday’s meeting follows previous meetings of the Group of Friends in Tunis, Istanbul and Paris, bringing together senior officials from countries supporting the opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. It will be attended by nearly delegations from about one hundred countries, in addition to representatives of the Syrian National Coalition, international and regional organizations, and civil society. It is the Group’s first meeting since the unification of the Syrian opposition under the CNS. The group, which includes Western and Arab countries, last met in Paris in July.
The three previous meetings called for a solution to the crisis that meets the aspirations of the Syrian people in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the plan of the Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and the Arab League. The Group likewise called for a political transition in Syria, and expressed support for the Syrian opposition and the Syrian National Council as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
In this sense, it is expected that the meeting in Marrakech define ways to capitalize on the results from previous meetings of the group, and consider ways to ensure suitable political transition to a democratic and pluralist Syria.
In this regard, the Delegate Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Youssef Amrani, who participated Sunday in Doha at the meeting of the Arab Ministerial Committee in charge of the Syrian crisis, said the Marrakech Conference “aims to reconcile points of view between the opposition forces to prepare for the transition to democracy,” which he described as “essential”. This democratic transition must meet two fundamental principles, namely the preservation of the territorial integrity of Syria and strengthening the national agreement, he said outlining the approach adopted by Morocco in its support for the Syrian people.
In the same vein, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Saad El Dine Othmani, said in an interview with the daily Asharq Al-Awsat that the Marrakech meeting will take decisions at the political level, in connection with support for the Syrian people and the new Syrian coalition.
In humanitarian terms, he said that these decisions would help more than 2.5 million internally displaced people or refugees and expressed his hope to see the meeting lead to initiatives to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people by providing assistance in coordination with neighboring countries or through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis 20 months ago, Morocco has joined international efforts to find a solution to the crisis. Morocco’s position was essentially based on respect for the sovereignty and independence of Syria, its unity and its territorial integrity.
Morocco spared no effort to help solve the Syrian crisis in a peaceful manner and avert a remake of the Libyan bloodshed. Morocco’s watchword has been the upholding of the freedom of the Syrian people and their right to free expression and democratic governance, while defending the territorial integrity and unity of Syria.
Morocco has been active in the efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis, both directly and through multilateral diplomacy. This commitment has been marked by the high profile visit of King Mohammed VI last October to the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan, which was the first of its kind by a head of state. Morocco’s role has also been highlighted by responsible and effective contribution in all meetings held at the Arab League and the United Nations on Syria, as well as humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.
Morocco was among the first countries to provide assistance to the civilian population in Syria providing food, medicine and blankets to Syrian refugee camps. The Kingdom established a field hospital in Zaatari. The field hospital was praised by the spokesperson of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Philippe Lalliot, who told reporters last week that it is “one of the first examples of structured humanitarian aid to these refugee camps, which since the summer has witnessed a massive influx of refugees fleeing fighting and violence in Syria.”
Similarly, Morocco sent humanitarian aid to Syrian populations displaced in Camp Gazi Antep in Turkey in form of tents to help them survive the cold winter that strikes the region.
During his meeting with Othmani last November, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle thanked the Kingdom of Morocco for hosting the next meeting of the Friends of Syria group, adding that Morocco “plays an important role in settling the Syrian crisis.”