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Saudi Arabia To Provide $100 Mln. In Relief To Syrians

12/13/2012 12:55 AM ET

Recognizing the Opposition National Coalition as the sole representative of the Syrian people, oil-rich Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced a donation of $100 million to alleviate the sufferings of the people of that Middle East country, Arab media reports said.

Making the announcements at a meeting of the "Friends of Syria" grouping in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal called for greater unity among the Opposition groups to mobilize international support.

He denounced the regime of embattled President Bashar Assad for intensifying its military campaign against unarmed civilians, and warned that the threat to use chemical weapons would have dangerous consequences.

Prince Faisal called upon the Syrian Opposition groups to unite under one leadership, and protect the rights of all sections of people. "The unity of the Opposition will help remove the justification for the continuation of division among the international community toward the Syrian issue," the Arab News quoted him as saying at the meeting.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the conclave that more than 100 countries had recognized the National Coalition so far, opening way for greater humanitarian assistance to the forces battling Assad and possibly even military aid. The European Union is now renewing its weapons embargo on Syria every three months rather than annually to be more flexible as the situation on the ground changes, he said.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns said the head of the Syrian National Coalition had been invited for talks in Washington following U.S. recognition of the Opposition bloc as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

by RTT Staff Writer

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