Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Syria: Abdel Halim Khaddam to form a government-in-exile

AMMAN, Jordan, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Arab press roundup for Jan. 4:

Kuwait's as-Seyassah daily reported Wednesday that former Syrian Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam was working towards forming a government-in-exile after he spoke out against the Syrian regime in a televised interview from Paris. The pro-government paper quoted unidentified sources close to Khaddam as saying he has started consulting with former Syrian military officers who had defected to "end the bad situation, of which (President Bashar) Assad is responsible." It said the former officers accused Assad of having "abandoned them and took unilateral control of power along with his brother Maher and brother-in-law, Asef Shawkat." The sources told the Kuwaiti daily the government-in-exile would bring Khaddam to a leadership role in a transitional period in which "a democratic, pluralistic and modern system will be set up." They said this system would respect human rights and draw up a new constitution calling for free general elections "for a democratic parliament and government." They added that a new president will be elected by the people for a four or six-year term.

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Also: It is 'showtime' for Syria - UK

BBC News - The current international pressure on Syria is "entirely deserved" and it is now "showtime" for its president, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says.

He said a Syrian official's claims that President Assad had threatened Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri before his murder were "very serious indeed."