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Riyadh Conference Forms New Leadership for Syria’s Opposition

Riyadh Conference Forms New Leadership for Syria’s Opposition

Thursday, 23 November, 2017 - 06:30
Syrian men mourn a child in a makeshift clinic following shelling of the rebel-held town of Douma on November 19, 2017 (AFP Photo/Hamza Al-Ajweh)

The meeting of Syrian opposition groups in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday was held in the absence of Riad Hijab after his resignation early this week.

Some observers say Hijab’s resignation had a bad timing and failed to respect the agreed principles of the High Negotiations Committee.

However, the new Committee has been on the move despite the absence of Hijab and his speculations about the motives of his resignations.

Commenting on the resignation, former president of the Syrian National Coalition Anas al-Abda said: “I hoped that Hijab had attended this conference to present a report about the Committee’s performance during the past two years, considering that he was the general coordinator during that period. We would have benefited from his studies and experience in the report he was expected to present.”

According to al-Abda, “it is unfortunate that Hijab resigns at this timing, one or two days before the meeting. But, nevertheless, the importance is that all the principal figures of the Committee have officially participated in the Riyadh conference.”

He added that the structure of the High Negotiations Committee will be reconstructed. “I hope that it would be more positive and effective for achieving what the Syrians aspire for.”

Al-Abda said he could not find an official explanation for Hijab’s resignation.

Commenting on the Russian position, which said that the resignation was in the benefit of the current negotiations, the former president of the Coalition said: “I believe that the Russians should not intervene in issues linked to the Syrian opposition.”

For his part, a representative from the Coalition, Hawas Khalil told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday that Hijab’s resignation was unsuccessful.

“We had hoped that Riad Hijab would be present with us in this meeting. But, unfortunately, he failed to uncover his intention to resign,” he said, adding that Hijab should have presented the resignation to the body that represents him - which is the Coalition - before deciding to hold the opposition meeting in Riyadh and inviting others to attend it.

Khalil added that the resignation was not in line with the followed principles and procedures.

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