Connect to share and comment

Hollande: France to get Syrian opposition ambassador

France eager to legitimize Syria's newly-formed opposition coalition.

hollandesyriaEnlarge
French President Francois Hollande at the Elysee Place in Paris on November 13, 2012. (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

French President Francois Hollande today said the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, Syria's newly-formed umbrella opposition group, will name an ambassador to France, reported Reuters

"There will be a Syrian ambassador in France who will be appointed by the president of the coalition," Hollande told reporters after holding talks with coalition leaders in Paris early today. 

However, a French diplomatic source told Reuters the new position will only be that of a coalition representative until a provisional government is set up in Syria and gains international recognition -- a process that could takes months if it happens at all, given the ongoing violence there.

More from GlobalPost: Who are the Syrian opposition?

The new Paris envoy is expected to be Monzir Makhous, who currently serves as the group's coordinator of external relations in Western Europe and who has been living in France since the early 1990s as a science professor, according to the Carnegie Middle East Center

Despite France's enmity toward the Syrian regime, the new ambassador will not move right into the Syrian consulate in Paris, which remains open but has no envoy, instead taking up a separate residence, reported Reuters.

The move comes as part of stepped-up organizational efforts on the part of Syria's fractured opposition movement, having recently concluded a unity summit in Qatar in a bid for greater international support. 

The French statement today is a step toward that recognition, with Hollande urging other world leaders to follow in Paris's footsteps, said Reuters.

Britain's Foreign Secretary, William Hague, on Friday welcomed the move but said the UK must be certain the group has Syrian citizens's "genuine support" before recognizing them internationally, a step he said he was eager to make "at an early stage," according to BBC News.

He is expected to make a decision about the group's legitimacy next week, said BBC

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/121117/hollande-france-get-syrian-opposition-ambassador