Syrian Opposition Council to open offices in US
The Syrian Opposition Council is looking to open offices in Washington and New York, and has named a representative to the United States, a US official said Wednesday, DPA reported.
Najeeb Ghadbian, a professor of political science and Middle East studies at the University of Akansas, has been named to represent the coalition of opposition forces in the United States, according to US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
The SOC represents the broad swathe of groups that have been trying to bring down the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since March 2011. The US recognized the SOC late last year as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
Nuland said that the US government supported the SOC's moves to open offices in New York and Washington, and was in discussion with the coalition about the Washington office.
"We are looking forward to continuing this conversation and to building our relationship with them," she said.
Nuland said there was currently no consideration being given to using the abandoned Syrian embassy and ambassador's residence in Washington.
Addressing the efforts by the SOC to open talks with the regime, Nuland said it was a "positive development." On Monday, SOC chief Moaz al-Khatib called for dialogue to end bloodshed and declared the opposition's willingness to hold talks with Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa.
"We are encouraging ... that they work together on a concrete way forward," Nuland said.
More than 60,000 people, including many civilians, have died in the nearly two-year-old conflict.