Only the Syrians Have Paid the Bill for the ‘Syrian Tragedy’ – Egyptian FM

Saving the lives of Syrian children is worth the “exceptional effort” needed to achieve consensus and rise above differences on smaller issues, Egypt’s foreign minister told Syrian opposition representatives.

In a speech before Syrian opposition figures and leaders on Monday, Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said only the Syrians have paid the bill for the “Syrian tragedy”, in death, destruction and uprooting at an unprecedented scale in modern history.

Cairo is hosting a two-day meeting of Syrian opposition factions, with delegations flying in from Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, France and Switzerland to partake in the talks.

The purpose of the talks is to reach a political solution in Syria based on the 10 points that the Syrian opposition agreed on in a previous meeting hosted in Cairo in January. The focus of the talks is to also come up with a formula to implement the Geneva Communiqueacute.

The Syrian crisis started in March 2011 and has claimed more than 200,000 lives so far, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Up to 12.2 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance, nearly half of whom are children.

Shukri said despite the campaigns by the international community, “the crisis is continuing, the Syrian people still suffer.”

Shukri believes that the political process in Syria has been “frozen” for a long time.

“The international community has not succeeded so far in coming out with a consensus on a formula to implement a political settlement based on the only document agreed upon,” Shukri said in reference to the Geneva Communiqueacute.

Therefore, a “purely national” Syrian vision for a political solution has become more “important and pressing than ever before”, the Egyptian foreign minister said.

The foreign minister said the spread of “militias, extremist and terrorist” groups in Syria “threatens the future of the entire region” and added that experience has proven that confronting the risks of such groups will not be achieved without reaching a political settlement.

Regionally, the developments in Syria have created a displacement crisis, with five main host countries for Syrian refugees and asylum seekers.

Turkey is hosting the largest number of Syrians in a single country, with over 1.7 million individuals registered with the United Nations refugee agency there.

The rest reside in Lebanon, where there are more than a million Syrians, followed by Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

A diplomatic source had earlier told Aswat Masriya that about 200 opposition leaders are taking part in today’s talks.

Source : Aswat Masriya