UK meeting plans for possible post-Assad Syria

LONDON Wed Jan 9, 2013 1:08am IST

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will host an international meeting to plan for the period after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's "inevitable" departure, the Foreign Office said on Tuesday.

The meeting will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, and delegates will include Syria experts, academics in post-conflict stabilisation, representatives of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) opposition group and other agencies.

The gathering highlights jitters over the shape of a post-Assad Syria, and experts fear regional and sectarian rivalries could extend the bloodshed and destabilise other countries in the strategically sensitive and volatile region.

"Aim is to galvanise planning for political transition in Syria," Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Twitter.

"Assad's departure from power is inevitable. Vital that international community plans ahead for the day after in Syria," he said.

Hague, along with other Western leaders, dismissed a defiant speech by Assad on Sunday, which the Syrian president billed as peace plan but in which he rejected talks with his opponents. Rebels described the speech as a renewed declaration of war.

While many experts say Assad's ousting is all but certain, there is no sign his rule will end soon. Rebels are edging closer to the centre of the capital Damascus, but Assad still has backing from powerful allies Russia, China and Iran.

More than 60,000 people have died in the uprising which has developed into a civil war since it erupted in March 2011, the United Nations said last week.

Foreign ministers and SNC chief Mouaz Alkhatib are not expected to attend the talks. The meeting is not open to reporters, and the conclusions are expected to be published in a closing communique. (Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; Editing by Alison Williams)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

School Shooting

School Shooting

Two killed, four wounded in Washington state school shooting.  Full Article 

Mideast Crisis

Mideast Crisis

Kurds reject Erdogan report of deal with Syrian rebels to aid besieged Kobani.  Full Article 

Canada Shooting

Canada Shooting

Canada vows tougher laws as citizens worry in face of attacks.  Full Article 

"Unilateral Diktat"

"Unilateral Diktat"

Putin accuses United States of damaging world order.  Full Article 

Nuclear Threat

Nuclear Threat

U.S. general says he believes N. Korea can build nuclear warhead.  Full Article 

Hatchet Attack

Hatchet Attack

NYC police say hatchet attack by Islam convert was terrorism.  Full Article 

Bollywood World

Bollywood World

Read stories and reviews Bollywood films.  Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage