U.S. Says Damascus Opposition Meeting 'Significant'


The United States termed as "significant" a Syrian opposition meeting in Damascus where around 160 activists called for democracy and a peaceful end to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"This is a significant event," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

"It's the first meeting of this kind in many decades. About 160 people are attending it. We don't have any outcomes yet but it is the first meeting of opposition figures in Syria," he said.

The dissidents pledged to press ahead with a "peaceful uprising for freedom" until the creation of a "democratic state."

The authorities, meanwhile, invited the opposition to a July 10 meeting to discuss key changes to the constitution amid the wave of unrest that has pitted pro-democracy protesters against security forces since mid-March.

"There are two ways forward -- the first a clear and non-negotiable move to a peaceful transition to democracy which would rescue our country and our people," opposition activist Munzer Khaddam told the Damascus meeting.

"The alternative is a road that leads into the unknown and which will destroy everyone," he said.

Opposition figures, all independent of any party affiliation, had gathered in a Damascus hotel to discuss a way out of crisis in a public meeting they said was unprecedented in five decades of iron-fisted Baath rule.

In a document they called a "pledge," the participants vowed to remain "part of Syria's peaceful uprising for freedom and democracy and pluralism to establish a democratic state through peaceful means."

They said they rejected "resorting to security measures to solve the deep structural crisis that Syria is suffering," and condemned "any discourse or behavior that divides Syrians on the basis of race or religion."

They also rejected "any foreign intervention in Syria's affairs" and urged "the nation's interests and the freedom of citizens" be put "above any other interest" for the sake of a "free, democratic and secure" Syria.

Comments 4
Default-user-icon Coolmec (Guest) over 8 years

Bashar Assad
Your time is Up !! No oner trusts you or beleives what you say! You have become President by rigging the votes. it is payback time! You will be overthrown and you will face the ire of the opressed Syrian people, and we, Lebanese, will go after you to recoup the cash that you , your family and your croonies have stolen from Lebanon. You will have to answer to the families of the innocent Lebanese who were tortured and killed by you and to the families of those who are still rotting in your jail.
So Bachar, Chawkat, Rustom and others please don't buy suits anymore, we have some reserved and tailored for you....
It is great time you taste the pain of your own medicine.

Default-user-icon John from Koura (Guest) over 8 years

This is funny. This reminds me when the US met with Chalabi who they thought was an American puppet, and he turned out to be an Iranian agent. And, now after the US spent 1 trillion dollars and destroyed its economy, Iraq will be iran's closest ally. Nothing the Americans do has worked. That is because they are a hated blood thirsty imperialists who love Israeli Apartheid!

Default-user-icon Coolmec (Guest) over 8 years

Well I really think Bashar Assad's time is up, regardless of US policy. By killing and torturing so many innocent citizens, among them kids, he has exposed his true self to the world. The US has no choice but to follow the will of the oppressed Syrian people. Moreover, if you listen to his one time backer i.e. the Israelis well they are openly saying it is time for the Sunni majority to run the country. Just imagine that the immense majority of the Syrians never experienced freedom in their country. Let me also say that Bashar overlooked one important and lethal weapon we Le.banese have given to the Syrians. More than 1 million were or are working in Lebanon where by they were exposed to freedom. Now they want it in their country More power to them!!!

Default-user-icon Mohamed Kanj (Guest) over 8 years

is bashar al assad' time up??? Why didnt 15million syrians agree with you Coolmec???