News / Middle East

Syrian Opposition to Expand US Presence

Najib Ghadbian, far left, with Bassma Kodmani, center, hold news conference of Syrian National Council members, New York, July 17, 2012.Najib Ghadbian, far left, with Bassma Kodmani, center, hold news conference of Syrian National Council members, New York, July 17, 2012.
x
Najib Ghadbian, far left, with Bassma Kodmani, center, hold news conference of Syrian National Council members, New York, July 17, 2012.
Najib Ghadbian, far left, with Bassma Kodmani, center, hold news conference of Syrian National Council members, New York, July 17, 2012.
Margaret Besheer
Syria’s main opposition coalition will soon open an office in New York City, not far from the United Nations.
 
According to University of Arkansas professor Najib Ghadbian, new Syrian opposition representative to the United States, the opposition is interested in pursuing a political solution to the nearly two-year old conflict with the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
 
“The main objective of the office is to be present in New York, to be a source of information and communication with the different [U.N.] missions," he told VOA by phone from Washington, describing it as an important step for the opposition coalition, which is recognized as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people by 114 countries. "To work with the different organs and agencies of the U.N. that are handling Syria, that includes organizations like OCHA, UNICEF, and definitely to pursue Syria’s seat at the U.N. as well.”
 
Ghadbian, who hails from a suburb of Damascus and has been in the United States for years, says that with diplomatic recognition comes the issue of representation, and that the move is one way the coalition hopes to enhance its position as the sole, legitimate representative of the Syrian people and further de-legitimize the regime of President Bashar al Assad.
 
The coalition will be funding the office in New York, as well as one in Washington, DC, from the group’s general budget. The U.S. government has expressed its support for both offices.
 
The United Nations estimates that more than 60,000 people have died during the nearly two-year conflict and millions more have been displaced inside Syria or become refugees. Ghadbian says the opposition coalition understands the need for a political settlement to end the suffering.
 
“We need to end the bloodshed; we need to end the killing; we need to try to make sure that political prisoners are released, and that was one element of the al-Khatib initiative," he said, referring to the recent offer from Syrian opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib to open talks with Assad’s vice president in a bid to end the fighting. "Because, again, Syrians have already sacrificed so much and I think it is time to try to explore ways to end this conflict.
 
While there has been no direct government response to al-Khatib's offer, Syria's information minister said last week that the opposition was welcome to come to Damascus to discuss Syria's future, as long as it met Assad's call for an unspecified national dialogue.
 
Ghadbian says that the opposition has no objection to speaking with regime supporters, just as long as they do not have blood on their hands.
 
“We want to tell them we have no quarrel with them," he said. "They are going to be part of the future of Syria. Really, our main quarrel is with those who committed crimes against humanity in Syria, against the Syrian people.”
 
Ghadbian says the opposition coalition wants to see a political transition that does not include President Assad, and takes the least toll on the Syrian people and their country.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid