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You're reading: France would recognize Syrian opposition government

PARIS — French President Francois Hollande called on Syria's opposition to form a provisional government, saying Monday that France would recognize it once such a government is formed.

The announcement from Hollande,
in a speech to France’s ambassadors, amounts to an attempt to ratchet up
diplomatic pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime amid
escalating bloodshed in the country.

Syria’s opposition remains
badly fragmented, and it is far from clear whether such a provisional
government could be formed anytime soon.

But Hollande’s statement,
believed to be the first of its kind, appeared aimed to give an impetus
to the creation of such a government.

“France asks the Syrian
opposition to form a provisional government — inclusive and
representative — that can become the legitimate representative of the
new Syria,” Hollande said.

“We are including our Arab partners to
accelerate this step,” he told hundreds of diplomats and dignitaries at
the presidential palace. “France will recognize the provisional
government of Syria once it is formed.”

Hollande also took issue
with Russian and Chinese reticence about reaching tougher language
against Assad’s regime, saying “their attitude weakens our ability to
carry out the mandate conferred on us by the U.N. charter.”

opposition has been plagued by divisions and infighting since the start
of the uprising last year, and a formation of a transitional government
is fraught with difficulties.

Abdelbaset Sieda, the leader of
main umbrella opposition group the Syrian National Council, said
recently the group was making plans and consultations for a transitional
government. However, several other opposition groups are known to be
making similar plans, including a new opposition alliance headed by
veteran opposition figure Haitham Maleh.

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