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Arab World

Syrian opposition gains recognition

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab League have recognized Syria's newly-formed opposition coalition as the representative of the Syrian people. Both groups urged further international recognition.

The collection of six Arab Gulf states that make up the GCC and the Arab League said in separate announcements on Monday that they recognize the National Coalition of the Syrian opposition.

"It is the legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition," Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, who heads the Arab League group for Syria, told reporters in Cairo.

"The states of the council announce recognizing the National Coalition of the Forces of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition … as the legitimate representative of the brotherly Syrian people," said GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani in a separate statement.

The new coalition was formed Sunday after four days of talks in Doha (pictured above) to unite the opposition against Syrian President Bashar Assad. The GCC was the first to release a statement of formal international recognition for the newly-formed opposition group.

General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani (L) listens to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Photo: EPA/ALI HAIDER)

Al-Zayani called the opposition the 'legitimate representative of the brotherly Syrian people'

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait make up the six-member GCC.

Al-Zayani said that his organization was "looking forward to Arab states and the international community recognizing the coalition."

Providing support

"The Council states will provide support to this new entity, in order to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people, in hope that this [coalition] will be a step towards a quick political transfer of power," al-Zayani said.

He also said he hoped the new coalition's formation "would lead to ending the bloodshed, protect the territorial unity of Syria, and to hold a general national congress to pave the way to build a state ruled by law and open to all its citizens without exceptions or discrimination."

Qatar's minister of state for foreign affairs, Khaled al-Attiya, said the recognition would remove any obstacles to the opposition securing arms for rebel fighters.

The national coalition's leader, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, told broadcaster Al Jazeera that it already had promises of weapons, but did not specify from whom.

dr, hc/ipj (AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa)