Syria slams Mecca summit nod on transitional governing body
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has thrown its support behind the establishment of a transitional governing body in the conflict-hit country with full executive powers
Damascus — Syria on Sunday denounced the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC’s) endorsement of a longstanding UN-backed proposal for a transitional governing body integrating opposition elements in the conflict-hit country, state media said.
The 57-member OIC met in the holy Saudi city of Mecca at the week and in its closing statement on Saturday threw its support behind a 2012 Geneva communique calling for the establishment of a transitional governing body in Syria with full executive powers.
“The closing communique of the summit only expresses the obvious and continuous dependence of these countries on their masters in the West,” a source at the Syrian foreign ministry told state news agency Sana.
Harking back to the Geneva proposals “and the idea of a government transitional body … confirms the chronic blindness of participating states to developments” in Syria in recent years, the source added.
UN-sponsored negotiations have been gradually eclipsed by parallel Moscow-backed negotiations known as the Astana process. The Astana process was launched in January 2017 by Russia and Iran — allies of the Damascus regime — and by Turkey, which backs rebels in Syria’s eight-year civil war.
The OIC on Saturday also denounced Washington’s decision on March 25 to recognise Israel’s claim of sovereignty over the part of the Golan Heights it seized from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.
But Syria’s government said “it was not waiting for support or a statement from this summit or others like it to assert its right over the Golan”, Sana said.
Regionally, the United Arab Emirates has begun a rapprochement with Damascus, by opening an embassy after years of closure, while relations have also improved with Bahrain and Jordan.
But regional power — and former Syrian opposition backer — Saudi Arabia remains hostile to President Bashar al-Assad, who has made a military comeback with Russian military support since 2015, clawing back almost two-thirds of the country’s territory.
Syria’s multi-fronted war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it began with the repression of antigovernment protests in 2011.