Representative of Syrian coalition welcome in Benelux
The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg have informed the coalition of Syrian opposition groups that an official representative of the coalition would be welcome in Brussels. The Benelux countries will provide assistance in setting up a mission. This mission can be used as the coalition’s official representation to the European Union, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
The Benelux countries made this pledge to Moaz al-Khatib, the head of the coalition, at a ministerial meeting of the Friends of Syria in Marrakech.
In Marrakech over 100 countries stated that they acknowledged the coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The Benelux countries had already made a similar statement in Brussels on Monday.
The coalition has an important task in paving the way for a transition to a democratic Syria. It has said it intends to represent as many opposition groups as possible, respect fundamental freedoms and pay particular attention to women’s rights.
In the present conflict the coalition, like the regime, must respect human rights. Human rights violators and other serious offenders must not be allowed to evade prosecution. The Netherlands is helping to register violations, so that perpetrators can later be prosecuted.
The Netherlands called upon participants at the conference to contribute to emergency aid. The humanitarian situation is dire, with a harsh winter on the way. The coalition has set up a coordination unit, to ensure that aid is channeled to where it is needed. Over the past few months the Netherlands has already pledged €23.5 million in aid.