Syrian opposition political leaders sought

Nov. 2, 2012 at 9:18 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department said it has some suggestions for Syrian opposition forces about certain people who might help unite and lead them.

The State Department said it was seeking out Syrians who "show leadership" out of frustration with the current leaders of a fractured opposition movement against President Bashar Assad, CNN reported Thursday.

"This is primarily political leadership. People who can not only organize but provide services," Patrick Ventrell, acting deputy State Department spokesman, said. "Because what this really is about is the day after, and the day will come when Assad falls, and there needs to be in place structures that can provide governance and services to the people."

Opposition members will meet Wednesday in Doha, Qatar.

U.S. officials met the individuals in several venues, such as opposition conferences and governance training sessions, as well as through recommendations by other opposition members.

The United States said the Syrian National Council has failed to unite the opposition, CNN said.

Ventrell said the group, made up largely of Syrian ex-patriots, "after many months, has not succeeded in broadening its leadership -- not to more insiders, not ethnically and not geographically."

"Meanwhile, we and our friends of the Syrian people, have encountered individuals who have already displayed leadership and want to be part of Syria's future," he said.

U.S. officials have expressed concern that radical elements might try to hijack the revolution because the opposition is mired in its own political infighting, CNN said.

"We are bringing these people to the attention of the Doha participants," Ventrell said. "We're not choosing anyone. Only the Syrian people can do that. Helping bring attention to a broader pool of candidates for the Syrian people to consider for potential leadership."

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