The Group of Friends of the Syrian People (sometimes: Friends of Syria Group or Friends of the Syrian People Group or Friends of Democratic Syria or simply Friends of Syria) is an international diplomatic collective of countries and bodies convening periodically on the topic of Syria outside the U.N. Security Council. The collective was created in response to a Russian and Chinese veto on a Security Council resolution condemning Syria; American president Barack Obama has stated that it was organized by the United States.
The group was initiated by then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and its first meeting took place on 24 February 2012 in Tunisia. The second meeting took place the same year on 1 April in Istanbul, Turkey. The third meeting of the Friends of Syria took place in Paris in early July 2012. The forth summit took place in Marrakesh 2012 December.
Seventy nations participated in the conference held on 1 April 2012 to support Syrian opposition and increase pressure on the Syrian government. The Syrian National Council claiming the opposition is now united called for "serious action" and said they will "take charge of the payment of fixed salaries of Free Syrian Army". The Turkish PM defended what he called "Syrians' right to self-defence" and demanded the international community to speak up for the Syrian people. "We also believe the international community has a moral obligation to act. The bloodshed in Syria must stop," He added. Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani (Qatari Prime Minister), Arab League Secretariat and Hillary Clinton (US secretary of state) supported taking stronger measures against the Syrian government.
The Government-owned Syrian Arab News Agency denounced the meeting calling it "a series of related circles of conspiracy against Syria" and identified participants as "enemies of Syria".
The third meeting of the Friends of Syria group opened on 6 July 2012 in Paris, France. Speakers addressing the meeting included William Hague, Laurent Fabius, Ahmet Davutoğlu, and Hillary Clinton.
On 22 May 2013, a conference in Amman was opened to discuss the US-Russian proposal for peace talks.
On 22 June 2013, a conference in Doha was opened to discuss how to organise the delivery of military and other kinds of aid for Syrian rebels.
On 8 September 2013,
The conference in Marrakech, on 12 December 2012, was attended by delegates of 114 states.
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
Syrian opposition groups
- National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces
International organizations participating in the Friends of Syria conference included:
- African Union
- Arab League
- Arab Maghreb Union
- European Union
- Gulf Cooperation Council
- 23x15px Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
- United Nations
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- "US set to boost support for Syria opposition". 2013-02-28. http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=57241. Retrieved 2013-05-24.
- "Friends of Syria Deliver Nothing New". 2013-04-21. http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/04/syrian-opposition-radical-elements-wester-arms.html. Retrieved 2013-05-24.
- "London 11 Meeting On Syria". UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/london-11-meeting-on-syria. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- "Chairman's Conclusions of the International Conference of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People, 24 February". US Department of State. 24 February 2012. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/02/184642.htm?goMobile=0. Retrieved 2012-03-03.
- "The Ambassador expressed the Indonesian position concerning conflict in Syria in the Friends of Syria Conference". Indonesia Embassy in Tunisia. 27 February 2012. http://www.kemlu.go.id/tunis/Pages/Embassies.aspx?IDP=321&l=en. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
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