U.K. Recognizes Syrian Opposition Coalition, Provides Aid

Nov. 20 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said the British government recognized the Syrian opposition coalition and will provide communications and other support to it.

Britain sought assurances from the opposition leadership in London on Nov. 16 that they would be inclusive of all sections of Syrian society, committed to democracy and would commit themselves to human rights, Hague said. The move came a day after the European Union said it viewed the opposition as the “legitimate representatives” of the Syrian people.

“On the basis of assurances I received and consultations with European partners yesterday, Her Majesty’s government has decided to recognize the national coalition of Syrian revolutionary and opposition forces as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” Hague told lawmakers in the House of Commons in London today.

The U.K. will invite the coalition to appoint a political representative to the U.K. and will give 1 million pounds ($1.59 million) of communications support, including satellite phones to improve co-ordination within Syria, Hague said. France has also said it would welcome their representative.

Britain will provide a stabilization response team to help provide basic needs in opposition-held areas, Hague said, and will expand its medical assistance, including a focus on supporting victims of sexual violence in the conflict.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net