JEDDAH — The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will soon recognize the Free Syrian Army as the sole and legitimate representative of the Syrian people, a high-ranking official in Bahrain told the Saudi Gazette.
The source said a decision to this effect will be announced during the meeting of the GCC foreign ministers in Riyadh on Saturday, Feb. 11.
The source, who requested anonymity, added that the GCC leadership has made its position clear on events taking place in Syria.
It has also attempted to resolve the crisis several times, including solutions offered by the Arab League to Damascus, to end the current “inhumane and unjust situation”.
“We have taken many extraordinary steps, we offered the Syrian government options to end the crisis and assure safe departure for all concerned parties but this, unfortunately, fell on deaf ears.”
The source was asked if the support for the Free Syrian Army would require declaring Syrian ambassadors in GCC countries persona non grata.The source said this would not be necessary. “The ambassadors in this case would have no official channels of contact with the governments where they reside.”
He said the decision was not taken solely because of the recent vote at the United Nations, where China and Russia used their respective veto powers to reject a Security Council resolution backing an Arab League plan for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to step down.
“We are still looking for and working toward an Arab solution. Syria means a lot to us Arabs and to the entire region. It holds huge potential for all of us, in terms of its sustainedgrowth and politicalstability. The UN route was taken to bring the matter to the attention of the Security Council members; and to place further pressure on the Syrian government, by saying that this situation is not only a domestic or regional problem, but is of concern to all peace-loving nations. We wanted them to be aware of the urgency with which the Arab League wants to deal with the inhumane situation in Syria.”
Asked whether the recognition would mean supplying the Free Syrian Army with weapons, he said: “Look at what happened in Libya. To give recognition is to ensure the recognized party has the right to live and todefend itself against aggression. This means we have to supply it with the means to achieve stability and peace, and to allow it the right to choose its own representatives.”