India to join `Friends of Syria` in Tunisia

Western and Arab powers are meeting in Tunis and will reportedly call on Syria to immediately to cease all violence.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Indicating a change in Indian position vis-à-vis Syria, New Delhi has decided to send a senior diplomat to attend the ‘Friends of Syria’ conference scheduled to be held in Tunis on Friday.

Western and Arab powers are meeting in Tunis and will reportedly call on Syria to "immediately to cease all violence" and pledge to deliver humanitarian supplies within 48 hours if Damascus "stopped its assault on civilian areas and permitted access”.

The meeting in Tunisia, the country where the Arab Spring erupted more than a year ago, brings together foreign ministers from more than 50 countries in the first gathering of the "Friends of Syria" after almost a year of protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

The group includes the United States, European Union countries and Arab and Muslim nations. Russia and China, which have both vetoed measures against Damascus at the United Nations, are not attending.

From India, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs in charge of West Asia and North Africa, Rajeev Shahare, will be going to Tunis.

Shahare was part of the delegation led by Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed at the ‘Friends of Somalia’ conference in London.

According to reports, India’s role at the conference would be an “observational” one.

Since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in 2011, India has maintained a calculated silence towards the Middle East.

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