» 07/03/2012, 00.00
In Cairo, the divisions of the Syrian opposition
Arab League tries to mediate between the various groups. Absent the Free Syrian Army, contrary to a peaceful resolution of conflict. Human Rights Watch releases a shocking report on torture by the Assad regime.
Cairo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Syrian opposition is meeting in Cairo to attempt to mend their divisions and study a transition plan for after Assad. Organized by the Arab League in cooperation with the Syrian National Council (NSC), the meeting was boycotted by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). In a statement, the main armed rebel group called the meeting a "conspiracy" to support the regime and its allies: Russia and China, stressing the need for international military intervention to stop the violence. Starting yesterday, the two day meeting in Cairo is to set the timing and practicalities of political transition, taking into account all components of Syrian society. The NSC and other opposition groups remain divided on the formation of the coalition who should also include members of the regime. Yesterday, Nasser el-Qidwa, adviser to Kofi Annan, UN and Arab League envoy to the Syrian crisis, stressed that "to win the trust of the population, the Syrian opposition should be united. This is not a simple choice, but a necessity. "
The Cairo meeting follows the summit of the Group of Action for Syria, held in Geneva on July 1, which failed because of China and Russia's refusal to put diplomatic pressure on Assad to force him to leave office. According to the two main allies of the regime, the Syrian people must choose their future, not the international community. To date, Moscow and Beijing have not yet confirmed their presence at the meeting of the "Friends of Syria" in the program on July 6 in Paris.
Internal conflicts within the Syrian opposition, the divisions between the countries of the international community and the interference of states such as Saudi Arabia and Russia are making it increasingly a short term peaceful solution unlikely. Confined for over a year to the strongholds of the rebel region of Homs, Hama and Deraa, the conflict has evolved in recent weeks to envelope Aleppo and Damascus. Yesterday, on the outskirts of the capital, the army repelled a helicopter assault and rebel attack. Heavy shelling and clashes with tanks also occurred in the villages a few kilometers from Aleppo.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch today issued a report which accused the regime of torture against political prisoners, arbitrary arrests and abductions. The organization has collected over 200 testimonies of detainees in Syrian prisons, describing the methods used by Assad men to force confessions. With this document, HRW wants to push the international community to take more concrete actions to stop the conflict, which so far has left more than 16.500 dead and about 100 thousand displaced.
Syria “totally rejects ” a call by the Arab League
Foreign ministers of Arab countries meeting in Cairo have called on President Assad to put an “immediate” end to bloodshed. The Arab League has urged Damascus to start dialogue with the people; only then will the League send the fact-finding mission requested by the Syrian government.
"Friends of Syria" arm rebels and sanction Assad
The opposition confirms receiving arms from Western countries. Saudi Arabia decides to arm the rebels and overthrow Assad. France, Great Britain, the United States are pushing for a resolution of the UN Security Council. Hamas sides with the opposition, for an "Islamic Syria". Damascus declares that the Tunis meeting supports "terrorism". Tomorrow the referendum for new constitution.
Syria: protests against the head of the observers involved in the Darfur genocide
The Syrian opposition appeal to step up today's nationwide anti-regime demonstrations. It calls for the removal of Mustafa al-Dabi, Head of the Arab League Mission, the right arm of Omar al-Bashir responsible for the bloody crackdown in Darfur.
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UN General Assembly condemns Syria
The non-binding resolution was supported by 137 in favour, 12 against and 17 abstentions. It does not criticize opposition violence. Ban Ki-moon calls on Assad to stop possible "crimes against humanity". Russian and Chinese envoys in Damascus; in Tunis, Western and Arab countries studying support maybe even military intervention. No attention paid to what Syrian people want.
Damascus accepts Arab observers, but on conditions
Assad has informed the Arab League of his assent to observers to monitor the situation in order to avoid a tightening of sanctions. However, he also places conditions, which the Arab countries will discuss. Today Hillary Clinton meets with opposition in Geneva.
Card. Tong’s article on China-Holy See dialogue, arouses joy and dismay
The Hong Kong bishop’s optimism over a change in the method of appointing bishops and the function of the Patriotic Association. But it is unclear whether it is real change or just nominal, in words. Underground bishops are patriotic and love their country, but the Party is suspicious of them. Freedom in episcopal appointments is “essential", but the bishops are not free to exercise their ministry. Patriotic bishops controlled in their visits with members of the universal Church. The "bugs" (hidden microphones) in a bishop’s office.
Card. Tong: The future of Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view
Card. John Tong
The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."
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