EU to Hail Syria Opposition as 'Positive Step Forward'
The European Union is set to hail the formation of a Syrian opposition bloc as "a positive step forward", according to a draft EU foreign ministers' statement seen by Agence France Presse on Monday.
In the draft statement, the ministers, referring to the Syrian National Council (SNC), say the EU "welcomes the efforts of the population to establish a united platform" and "notes the creation of the SNC as a positive step forward".
The EU "calls on the international community to also welcome" the formation of the SNC and "welcomes its commitment to non-violence and democratic values".
Syria threatened retaliation Sunday if other states recognize the newly formed opposition bloc as President Bashar Assad renewed a pledge of reforms and security forces shot dead at least 11 people.
Foreign Minister Walid Muallem warned that Damascus will retaliate against any state that recognizes the SNC formed in Istanbul in late August and uniting the key groups opposed to Assad's rule.
"We will take significant measures against any country that recognizes this illegitimate council," Muallem told reporters, as the SNC lobbied for support in Cairo where the Arab League is based.
The SNC groups the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), an activist network spurring protests in Syria, the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood as well as Kurdish and Assyrian groups.