Syria opposition postpones formation of transitional government
Credibility of opposition Syrian National Council at stake with second delayed bid to form government. Disagreements among members triggered when coalition president left to raise funds in Qatar.
Syrian opposition leaders meeting in Istanbul have postponed forming a transitional government, the Syrian National Coalition said on Monday, in a setback for efforts to fill a power vacuum in the war-torn country.
The talks launched on Saturday were the opposition's second bid to form a government, with its credibility at stake as the country slides into sectarian conflict between majority Sunni Muslims and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's minority Alawite sect.
The 70-member coalition, dominated by Islamists and their allies, was formed with Western and Gulf backing in Qatar at the beginning of December. Power struggles among its members have undermined efforts to agree on a transitional government.
A five-member committee would put forward proposals on a government to the coalition within 10 days, it said on Monday.
The committee would "consult opposition forces and the Free Syrian Army and friendly states to get their opinion about forming the government and the extent to which they can honor the necessary commitments for its financial and political viability," the coalition said in a statement.
Sources at the negotiations in Istanbul said on Sunday that Syrian National Coalition President Mouaz al-Khatib had flown to Qatar to secure promises of financial aid for a transitional government in rebel-held areas.
The talks had been hit by disagreement over whether a transitional government could survive when al-Khatib left in the middle of deliberations, the sources said.