UAE tells Syrian opposition to unite

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UAEHis Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has emphasised that the UAE, under the leadership of the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, backs the Syrian cause and efforts by the Syrian people towards achieving their goals, and appealed to the opposition forces to unite, consolidate joint action and expand their base in Syria.

Shaikh Mohammed made his remarks as he received Ahmed Moaz Al Khatib, the president of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, in the presence of Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, on the sidelines of the 24th ordinary session of the Arab Summit here. Shaikh Mohammed also stressed that the UAE condemns all forms of violence in Syria.

Taking Syria’s seat at the Arab League gathering in Qatar for the first time, Al Khatib urged Arab rulers to join Syrians in breaking “a link of repression”.As your youngest brother, I tell you, fear God while dealing with your people, reinforce your country with fairness and justice,” the cleric said during his speech at the summit. Al Khatib, acknowledging that he was breaking away from diplomatic protocol, called on the leaders to adopt a resolution “to free detainees in all of the Arab world so that the day of the victory of the Syrian revolution, which will break a link of repression, is a day of joy for all our peoples”.

Shaikh Mohammed said Al Khatib’s speech to the summit was ‘touching’ and expressed the Syrian people’s hopes and ambitions. Shaikh Mohammed also noted the role the Syrian community in the UAE plays and reiterated that the UAE bears in mind the concerns of this community, in particular during the current ‘crushing’ crisis.

For his part, Al Khatib, on behalf of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, thanked the UAE for its support for the Syrian people in their effort to achieve their national goals. He said: “We consider the UAE a supporter of the Syrian people.” The meeting discussed the current situation in Syria and ways to support the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces to enable it to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people.

The Arab summit gave member states the “right” to offer Syrians all means of self-defence including arms, in a resolution on Syria. The Arab Summit affirms the “right of every state to offer all forms of self-defence , including military, to support the resistance of the Syrian people and the Free Syrian Army”, said the resolution. Besides Syria crisis, the Arab summit also focused on the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Qatar proposed the creation of a $1 billion Arab fund for occupied East Jerusalem, which Palestinians say should be the capital of an independent state under any peace deal with Israel. Arabs fear that Israeli settlement building on land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, including East Jerusalem, has made a two-state solution backed by the United States unfeasible.

Qatar’s Amir, His Highness Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, offered to contribute $250 million to the fund. “(Jerusalem) is in serious danger, which requires of us serious action. Palestinian, Arab and Islamic rights in Jerusalem cannot be compromised. Israel must realise this,” Shaikh Hamad said. He did not elaborate on the precise purpose of the fund and how the money would be spent.

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