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article imageIstanbul summit aims to put pressure on Syria

By Paul Iddon     Apr 1, 2012 in Politics
In a summit in Istanbul the "Friends of Syria" warned the regime in Damascus not to stall on following the guidelines put forward by the UN-Arab peace plan.
A summit made up of more than 60 leaders from western and Arab countries have convened in Istanbul in order to apply pressure on Damascus in order for the regime there to cooperate with the peace plan that has been outlined by the United Nations as well as several members of the Arab League reported BBC News, ABC News and Reuters.
The absence of China and Russia, the two powers that vetoed the UN Security Council Resolution condemning Assad for his actions was notable.
The regime in Damascus has referred to those attending this summit as "enemies of Syria," and has declared itself victorious in its fight with the rebels.
At the summit the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan referred to the stalling by the Assad government and its present blatant refusal to abide by the six-point peace plan that was put forth by the UN-Arab League's envoy Kofi Annan.
He stated that:
"The Syrian regime should not be allowed at any cost to manipulate this plan to gain time."
The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki however is opposed to giving support -- in particular armed support -- to the Syrian opposition stressing that quote:
"It has been one year and the regime did not fall, and it will not fall, and why should it fall?"
Qatar and Saudi Arabia in particular have been strong proponents of arming the opposition, however most of the attendants at the summit were opposed to the idea of arming the opposition, as a flow of weapons could fuel momentum that could lead to a civil war fought along sectarian lines.
The Syrian government has claimed that it is close to bringing the uprising to an end.
The United Nations in its latest casualty estimate stated that roughly 9,000 people have been killed since this uprising against Assad's rule begun over a year ago.
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