The second Friends of Syria Group meeting was held in Istanbul yesterday with the participation of representatives from 83 different countries and organizations.
The summit hosted 41 Foreign Affairs Ministers as well as representatives from international organizations including the UN, the Arab League, the EU, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the African Union. Two major developments during the meeting was the official recognition of the Syrian National Council as Syria's representatives and the lighting of a green light on the use of weapons by the opposition. In addition, for the first time ever, the Friends of Syria Group sent out signals that arms support may be given to the Syrian opposition. A twelfth item was added to the meeting's final declaration as a result of both Turkey's initiative and Prime Minister Erdoğan's statement, that should Syria not follow the Annan plan and the UN Security not fulfill their international obligation to put an end to the bloodshed, "then they will be left with no choice but to support the Syrian people's right to self-defense." The additional article states, "The Friends of Syria Group expresses support for the implementation of legitimate measures for the Syrian public to be able to protect themselves."
The following are a selection of topics included in the 27-item communiqué released by the Friends of Syria Group:
The Friends of Syria Group will offer total support for Syrian's independence, political unity and territorial integrity.