Rivalries between Syria's various opposition groups have plagued two-days of unity talks in Cairo sponsored by the Arab League. The opposition was able to agree only on a general vision for a post-Assad future.
Syrian opposition groups struggled to overcome their differences and forge a united front during talks in Cairo on Tuesday, hampering their efforts to present a viable alternative to President Bashar Assad's regime.
The 250 delegates who attended the talks failed to reach an agreement on the formation of a united body to represent the splintered opposition. The Syrian National Council (SNC) reportedly rejected a proposal that would have created a steering committee to coordinate all opposition parties and implement decisions.
Opposition leader Haitham al-Manah told the Reuters news agency that the SNC's rejection of the steering committee showed "its interest to remain sole leader of the opposition."
Distrust divides Syria's two main opposition groups. The SNC has accused the Syrian National Coordination Body (NCB) of being too close to the Assad regime. But the NCB says the SNC is a front for Western powers and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Meanwhile, the National Kurdish Council walked out of the Cairo talks, angered that the meeting did not recognized the Kurdish people and their language.
"The Kurds withdrew because the conference rejected an item that says the Kurdish people must be recognized," council member Aziz Othman said.
The Reuters news agency reported that the Kurdish decision to leave threw the conference into chaos. Delegates reportedly traded blows amid cries of "scandal, scandal."
Vague transition plan
The delegates managed to adopt two documents sketching a broad vision for the transitional period and a post-Assad future. They agreed to support the Free Syrian Army, dissolve the ruling Baath Party, and exclude Assad and other senior regime figures from a place in the political transition.
The delegates decided to set up a temporary legislative body and interim government in Damascus. They also said Syria should be governed as a "republican democratic, civilian, pluralistic system."
The two-day opposition talks in Cairo followed a meeting of world powers in Geneva, Switzerland last weekend. Foreign ministers in Geneva adopted a plan calling for the opposition and members of the regime to form a transitional government chosen on "mutual consent."
slk/ccp (AP, Reuters)
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