Syrian National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces admits that they do not represent all Syria, and even not the whole country's opposition. Russian presidential envoy in the Middle East and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told this ITAR-TASS after a summit of the League of Arab States (LAS) on Wednesday.
Leaders and representatives of Arab states stated at the summit in Kuwait City once again that they support the Syrian National Coalition as the only legitimate representative of Syrian people. However, these decisions "do not stand any criticism", the Russian deputy foreign minister said. "Ahmad al-Jarba and his associates acknowledge that they do not represent even the whole opposition, because there are some influential forces, for instance, the National Coordination Committee, internal opposition which failed to agree with the national coalition to form a more representative delegation despite our advice and recommendations," Bogdanov noted.
The Russian presidential envoy also noted lack of unity in the League of Arab States, emphasized by the absence of Syrian governmental representatives. When asked to give an assessment to the LAS summit, Bogdanov noted: "Delegations of all Arab countries except for Syria came for the LAS summit. I frankly said to representatives of the national coalition, other Arab delegations and LAS secretary general, "You are discussing Syrian problems without the Syrian government."
"Thus, it is a unilateral approach again, as opposition participated in the summit, but a seat of official Syrian authorities was not passed to them. This seat remained empty. However, there was the Syrian national flag in the session hall. This shows that there is no unity on this and many other issues between Arab states," the Russian diplomat added.
In his assessment, the diplomat also noted that differences between Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf influenced the results of the LAS summit in Kuwait. "Some differences have emerged recently between member-countries of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (recall of ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates from Qatar). This was felt on the sidelines of the summit and in speeches," Bogdanov said, noting that "these moments also affect atmosphere and situation and finally decisions."
Mikhail Bogdanov visited Kuwait to convey Russian presidential address to LAS summiteers. The Russian presidential envoy said that this practice existed before the Arab Spring. "We have not participated in the LAS summits for the past three years, though the Russian president has sent a message of greetings to LAS summiteers according to tradition every year," Bogdanov added, noting that Russia is the only country invited to participate in the LAS summit as a guest.
The deputy foreign minister noted that the visit was quite useful, because he succeeded to have meetings with several politicians and diplomats, including Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah, LAS Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and UN/LAS special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.