Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal headed the Kingdom’s delegation to a meeting of the Friends of Syria in London today. The session was attended by foreign ministers and officials from ten other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Turkey, and the UAE. The discussion focused on the latest developments in the Syrian crisis, efforts to support the Geneva 2 Conference, and the intensification of humanitarian relief activities.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the participants issued a final communique in which they welcomed the September 27 statement of the United Nations Security Council calling for the achievement of a timely political transition in Syria based on the Geneva Declaration. Condemning the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons and heavy artillery against its people, the delegates agreed that there is no place in the transitional government for Bashar Al-Assad and his junta. Furthermore, they welcomed the UN Security Council agreement guaranteeing the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.
Regarding the Geneva 2 Conference, the communique urged the Syrian National Coalition to join the peace talks. It expressed hope that the meeting will lead to a political transfer of power and the creation of a democratic, inclusive Syria that respects human rights and the rule of law. The communique called for an increase in humanitarian assistance for refugees in order to alleviate their horrible suffering and to reduce the strain on neighboring countries. Finally, it expressed concern over the increasing presence of extremist groups operating inside of Syria and demanded that Iranian and Hezbollah fighters withdraw from the territory.