Gul suggests regional solution to Syria crisis

Turkish President suggested that the Syria crisis be solved by countries of the region, adding that Western countries have not presented a viable solution to the problem thus far

Gul suggests regional solution to Syria crisis

World Bulletin/News Desk

President Abdullah Gul suggested that the Syria crisis be solved by countries of the region, adding that Western countries have not presented a viable solution to the problem thus far, at a press conference on Friday prior to leaving Cairo, where he had been attending the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit.

Stating that he had also met with Syrian opposition figures on the sidelines of the OIC summit, Gul said: “This [Syrian] issue can only be resolved by the countries of the region; you can see that non-regional powers have not been of much use for [solving the crisis]. When it comes to delivering speeches on the issue, many have done so.”

Gul went on to say that some countries attending the OIC summit have decided to find a regional resolution to the Syrian conflict. The Turkish president, recalling a “working schedule” prepared by the OIC participants for a solution to the issue, said he had urged foreign ministers to begin talks and elaborate on the schedule.

The president also said that under the scope of the regional initiative, Turkey, Iran and Egypt had exchanged views on the issue during a three-way meeting on Wednesday. Although Saudi Arabia had been expected to attend the meeting of the quartet, which was established by the four countries to address the Syrian crisis, Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who headed the Saudi delegation to the OIC summit, left Egypt just before the mini-summit on Wednesday. Gul said that although Saudi Arabia did not attend the meeting, it was still connected to the talks.

Saudi Arabia only attended the quartet's first meeting several months ago. Egyptian officials insist that the Saudis have not pulled out, while an Egyptian presidential spokesman said Al Saud left because of other personal engagements. However, it is widely suspected that the kingdom has quit the group because it did not see the point of working with archrival Iran, Bashar al-Assad's most ardent backer.

When asked about his comments on the Saudi stance, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a news conference in Cairo said, “We don't know why they left and we are not in a position to speak for them.” “But I am sure that our brothers in the [Saudi] kingdom will be happy and welcoming if we take positive steps toward a solution in Syria,” he added. Ahmadinejad said he was “alarmed by what Syria is going through” and called for dialogue.

“Egypt, Turkey and Iran are moving toward cooperation [on Syria], but no one has the right to interfere in the domestic affairs of others,” he warned. “Instead we must encourage a national dialogue there. War always breeds war. Any government that comes to office through war cannot bring about lasting peace. Only free elections and national dialogue can bring security and peace,” added Ahmadinejad.

When Gul was asked by a member of the press if there was a change in Iran's stance on Syria, he said: “Both Turkey and Iran are involved in the Syrian crisis. Everyone knows that Iran supports the [Syrian] regime. Obviously, we consider the [Syrian] opposition as the representative of the people.”

Upon a question on the difficulties faced during the Arab revolutions, Gul said that shortcomings were normal during transitions to democracy, adding that patience was required. Commenting on steps taken since the Egyptian revolution, which took place following a popular uprising, began on Jan. 25, 2011, Gul said that although they acknowledged the shortcomings of the current system, one should recognize the significance of Egypt going to the polls, electing its president and drafting its constitution. “The stability and security of the Islamic country, Egypt, is of great importance, and if Egypt can be successful at transitioning to democracy, this will illuminate the whole Muslim world,” Gul added.

Stating that he had advised Egypt to pursue good economic policies to be able to achieve political stability, Gul said that Turkey was supporting Egypt in this process by providing it with a $2 billion financing package. The package aims to strengthen Egypt's foreign currency reserves and support investment in infrastructure. Half of this financing package will be in the form of bilateral loans.

Gul also announced that Turkey would host the next OIC summit to be held in 2016.

Last Mod: 09 Şubat 2013, 12:46
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