Arab press continues to focus Wednesday on the international recognition of Syria’s new opposition coalition, headed by Mouaz al-Khatib.
“France spearheads international recognition of Syrian coalition,” reads the headline of Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, quoting Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faysal as saying that attempts to prevent regime change in Syria were pointless. It also quotes French President Francois Hollande as saying that an initiative to arm the Syrian opposition will be reintroduced by the countries who are now recognizing the new coalition.
Hollande’s statement coincided with a request by coalition leader, Mouaz Khatib, to arm the rebels with “quality weaponry.”
London-based daily Al-Hayat reports that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet in Riyadh Wednesday with the foreign ministers of the six Gulf Cooperation Council states. A spokesman for the GCC said that the meeting is intended to end the bloodshed in Syria through “quick transition of power.”
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, always slightly critical of the Syrian opposition, quotes statements by two human rights organizations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, demanding the Syrian opposition stop human rights violations against government forces.
The daily also quotes Syria’s deputy foreign minister Faysal Miqdad as naming the new opposition coalition an “American-Qatari project” to destroy Syria.
‘The day of departure for the dictator of Damascus is nearer than ever before,’ Homayed ends his op-ed
Tareq Homayed, editor-in-chief of A-Sharq Al-Awsat, calls the Arab recognition of the Syrian opposition coalition Monday “a historic day for the Syrians and the region,” by effectively withdrawing official recognition from the Assad regime and granting it to the opposition.
The Arabs were very late in recognizing the opposition, adds Homayed, toeing the consistent editorial line of his daily during the past 20 months, but “better late than never,” he grimly writes.
“The day of departure for the dictator of Damascus is nearer than ever before,” Homayed ends his op-ed.
Jordan price hike and its fallout
Jordan’s government decision to raise the price of fuel and other oil products has brought thousands of demonstrators to the street across the kingdom, a topic widely covered in Arab media Wednesday.
Al-Hayat, reporting the price hike, says that Jordan will raise subsidies on bread and electricity in the coming days. It adds that the kingdom is expected to receive $1 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to rescue it from economic crisis.
Mansour told Al-Jazeera that the government of Abdullah Ensour miscalculated by raising the prices at the start of winter, just ahead of parliamentary elections
Hamza Mansour, head of the Islamic Action Front, the political party of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, is demanding the government revoke the price increase and form a “national salvation government,” Qatar-based news channel Al-Jazeera reports.
Mansour told Al-Jazeera that the government of Abdullah Ensour miscalculated by raising the prices at the start of winter, just ahead of parliamentary elections.
“[The government] should have known that the Jordanian people would not remain silent in the face of injustice and starvation,” Mansour said.
Palestinian UN bid and its fallout
As Arab media report a PA decision to turn to the UN on November 29 to receive recognition from the General Assembly as a nonmember state, Israel is threatening to annul all or part of the Oslo peace accords in response.
Threats seem to be the name of the game Wednesday, and it’s not just the Israelis and the Palestinians who are taking part.
According to Al-Quds Al-Arabi, the Palestinian factions in Gaza have decided on calm with Israel Monday following Egyptian mediation.
The daily quotes Palestinian news agency Ma’an which reported an Egyptian threat to withdraw its ambassador to Tel Aviv if Israel decided to launch an attack on Gaza.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo Tuesday.
Abbas spoke to Morsi about the plight of five million Palestinian refugees in neighboring countries, stating that the issue should be solved in negotiations with Israel based on the Arab Peace Initiative.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr said that he instructed his country’s embassies to lobby in favor of recognizing Palestine as a nonmember state in the UN, A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported.