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Qatar calls for diplomacy deadline on Syria

Doha insists on Arab forces role in ending civil war

  • By Habib Toumi Bureau Chief
  • Published: 13:28 January 13, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: Diplomatic efforts to find a solution to the crisis in Syria should not be given more than one month, Qatar’s prime minister has said.

“I think that there is not much time left for diplomacy now,” Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasem Al Thani said. “Diplomacy may continue for two or three or four weeks, but no more because the situation is tragic in Syria and we cannot justify that we are still talking about solutions and we support talk about political solutions. The first Geneva meeting I attended stated the transfer of power and the transfer means that someone gives up power and another assumes it,” Shaikh Hamad told pan-Arab television station Al Jazeera on Saturday evening.

The Qatari prime minister said that there was an agreement on a political situation to the crisis, but there was a need to fulfill its obligations.

“We have stated since the beginning at the Arab League and at the committee, that I am honoured to chair, that the military solution was not desirable. However this does not mean the existence of other means to end the fighting in Syria. We do support efforts by [international peace envoy Lakhdar] Brahimi’s orientations within the framework of reaching a political solution. However, a political solution must be understood. There has to be a government with full powers and this means that [President Bashar] Al Assad has to step down. Some diplomats may not wish to indicate this matter, but this is what should happen,” Shaikh Hamad said in his remarks reported by Qatar News Agency (QNA).

Brahimi is using a June 30 agreement in Geneva calling for a transitional period in Syria to reach an international consensus.

However, his efforts to end 21 months of violence are being challenged by wide differences between Russia and the US over the future of President Al Assad.

Shaikh Hamad, also his country’s prime minister, said that there was support to a solution through a Russian-US agreement at the United Nations Security Council.

However, he said there was no agreement between Moscow and Washington on managing or solving the crisis.

“Until now, neither option on the crisis exists. They did not reach an agreement. Let us be realistic. There are divergences in the views of the United States and the Russian Federation. Bahrimi is seeking a common ground in order to go to the Security Council with a single voice that will allow us to have a single resolution. We do support this option, but until when? We cannot wait forever on this issue,” he said.

Shaikh Hamad denied claims that the Arab League called for an international military intervention that would take sides in the conflict.

“We have never talked about it. As you may have noticed, the committee that I am chairing has reduced its meetings and statements in order to give Brahimi all the time to achieve his mission in a manner that satisfies the ambitions of the Syrian people,” he said. “However, if this does not happen, I recall that at the beginning or in the middle of the crisis, HH the Emir [of Qatar] mentioned security and intervention forces. Not the military intervention that supports one side against the other. I believe that Arabs should consider this option seriously if all other means fail. The Arabs are capable of putting an end to the bloodshed in Syria,” he said.

In Support, Qatar’s Emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani told the UN General Assembly that Arab states should intervene in Syria following the UN Security Council’s failure to end the civil war.

In his statements to the Doha-based Al Jazeera, the Qatari prime minister insisted that Al Assad should hand over power to the Syrian people to spare them further deaths and bloodshed.

“The fact is that any solution that does not stipulate a change to the current power situation will not regretfully end the bloodshed in Syria. We are therefore supporting the Syrian opposition and people to free themselves from this regime. The killings, kidnappings, waste of money and full razing of cities are more than enough,” he said. “There are eye-witnesses who told me that whole cities have been razed to the ground by the Syrian government. One witness told me that it reminded him of the Second World War,” Shaikh Hamad said.

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