GCC slams Syrian elections as ‘farce’
Foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have labeled the elections in Syria as a farce.
They dismissed the vote as a way for President Bashar Assad to stay in power and prolong the country’s bloody three-year conflict.
The final communiqué released after the GCC ministerial meeting here Monday night said that holding the elections and the resulting nomination of Assad would “undermine Arab and international efforts to solve the ongoing crisis.”
The Saudi delegation to the GCC ministerial meeting was led by Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, deputy minister of foreign affairs.
A GCC official said that “no credible vote can be held in Syria when several regions of the country are outside state control and millions of people have left the country to live as refugees.”
The GCC also stressed the importance of turning war criminals in Syria over to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The foreign ministers expressed concerns over the Russian and Chinese “vetoes against any UN Security Council draft resolution regarding the Syrian issue.”
The GCC foreign ministers also urged the international community to take strong punitive action against Syria because Assad’s actions pose a direct threat to the security of neighboring countries.They also called on the P-5+1 group of nations to ensure that Iran scales down its uranium enrichment program.
In his opening speech at the GCC ministerial meeting, Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s foreign minister, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the GCC, urged the international community to “take measures to protect unarmed citizens and to ensure delivery of humanitarian assistance to Syrian citizens in besieged areas.”
Sabah said the GCC countries were looking forward to Iranian talks on a host of regional issues including Syria to ensure “security and stability” in the region. On the Palestinian issue, he reaffirmed the GCC support for a viable Palestine state.
On Egypt, Sabah praised the government there for holding successful elections and hoped that the country’s strategic role would be enhanced regionally and internationally.
The meeting was attended by Omani Foreign Minister Yousef bin Alawi, Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmad Al-Khalifa, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah. Abdullateef Al-Zayani, the GCC secretary general, also attended the session.