Former Syrian PM in Qatar to discuss toppling Assad

BEIRUT Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:30am EDT

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BEIRUT Aug 17 (Reuters) - Former Syrian prime minister Riyad Hijab, who defected earlier this month, is in Qatar for talks about how to unify opposition efforts to topple President Bashar al-Assad, his spokesman said on Friday.

Hijab, who announced his defection on Aug. 6 becoming the most senior serving official to quit Assad's administration, arrived on Thursday for a three-day visit, spokesman Mohamed Atari said.

Hijab would discuss "unifying the efforts of the opposition to accelerate the pace of the downfall of the regime," Atari said.

Qatar is one of the Sunni-led regional states that is supporting the predominantly Sunni uprising against Assad's Alawite-led government. Atari did not say with whom Hijab would meet. He said after the visit, Hijab would return to Jordan.

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