Middle East

France says too early to recognise Syrian opposition coalition

In this Nov. 11, 2012, file photo, George Sabra, the new head of the Syrian National Council, signs an agreement with the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces during a meeting in Doha, Qatar. (AP Photo/Osama Faisal, File)

PARIS: France's Defence Minister said on Tuesday it was still too early to recognise the newly created Syrian opposition coalition, calling for more to be done to unite the armed factions under its umbrella.

Leaders of Syria's exiled opposition formed the coalition in Qatar's capital Doha on Sunday and the grouping is now seeking international recognition as a government-in-waiting.

Paris, one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's harshest critics, has said it would recognise a provisional government that included all strands of society.

But it has ruled out arming rebel forces, concerned weapons could get into the hands of radical Islamists.

"What happened in Doha is a step forward," Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters in Paris. "We consider it to be significant. It is still not sufficient to lead to a right track."

He said that while political unity was important it had to be accompanied by the unification of the various armed groups.





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