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The half-acknowledged Syrian coalition

(BRUSSELS2) The European Union decided on Monday (19 November) to recognize the members of the brand new opposition front, the “National Coalition of Syrian Opposition and Revolutionary Forces” as “ legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian population "(consider them legitimate representatives of the aspirations of the Syrian people).

A formulation which allows us to welcome the new coalition without being too attached to it. Some States (France especially) believed that it should be recognized as “the” representative, others as “a” representative. Ultimately the discovery was to delete the article, according to a grammatically shaky but diplomatically acceptable formulation. “We specifically decided on the syntactic formulation (...) it was the one with which all member states were most comfortable » Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs, commented to the press after the Council.

A first step

The European Union has mainly welcomed the agreement as a first step in a process of unification. And if the Ministers do not clearly and directly recognize the new coalition as the sole representative. The opposition front created in Doha should in particular show complete openness in its work towards all opposition groups and all segments of civil society and that it also subscribes to the principles of human rights. and democracy.

Some minorities not yet represented

« This shows that there is still a long way to say that she is "the" representative of the opposition. explained a minister who took part in the debates. " The opposition must further expand and unify. There are not many Kurds there, no Alawites, and room must be made for personalities from the regime. We must not go too quickly, to be sure that everyone feels comfortable in this opposition. We're not there yet. "" We cannot give exclusivity when all the groups are not yet represented " he added.

A symbolic reception

In the absence of full legal recognition, the Syrian opposition could soon find a symbolic mark. At the initiative of France, supported by Belgium, it could thus be received at the next Council of Foreign Ministers, or even at the summit of Heads of State and Government.

(with D. Kerlouet)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).