World / US and Canada

Obama recognizes Syria's main opposition group

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-12 10:29

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama on Tuesday recognized Syria's main opposition group as the sole "legitimate representative" of Syrian people.

In an interview with the ABC News, Obama called the recognition of the newly-formed Syrian Opposition Council as "a big step" in the so-called international efforts to unseat President Bashar al-Assad.

He said that the rebel group is now "inclusive enough" to be granted the elevated status, which paved the way for increasing the US aid to the organization.

Obama added that, with the recognition of the council, Washington will take on new responsibilities to "make sure that they organize themselves effectively, that they are representative of all the parties, that they commit themselves to a political transition that respects women's rights and minority rights".

The US move followed the similar steps taken by Britain, France and several Arab countries, which recognized the rebel council shortly after it was created at a meeting of opposition representatives held in Qatar last month.

The US recognition of the Syrian Opposition Council also came before an upcoming international conference on Syria crisis scheduled to open on Wednesday in Marrakech, Morocco.

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns will attend the conference after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton canceled her planned trip due to illness caused by a stomach virus.

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