London calls for united Syrian opposition

Jan. 18, 2012 at 2:07 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- There is a "growing need" for Syrian opposition movements to unite under a common banner for the sake of eventual transition, the British government said.

British Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt met in London with Abdul Hakeem Bashar, leader of the opposition Syrian Kurdish National Council.

Burt, in statements following the meeting, noted a united Syrian opposition was "crucial" for a transition to a free and democratic Syria.

"I reiterated the clear and growing need for the Syrian opposition to come together to help define a shared vision for a future Syria where the political system is inclusive, representative and adheres to international human rights standards," he said.

European foreign ministers scheduled a Monday meeting to consider another round of sanctions against Damascus. Measures at the U.N. Security Council remain stalled in part because of objections by veto-wielding Russia.

The British government, in a statement, said it has generated a "list of 21 military and security officials we believe are responsible for the violence against civilians."

A monitoring team with the Arab League is on the ground in Syria in an effort to ensure the regime is complying with a pledge to pull military forces from the streets. At least one member of the team resigned because of ongoing violence.

An opposition group this week told London's pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat that the death toll has topped 6,000 since mid-March.

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