Syria's Alkhatib explains why he quit as rebel head
DOHA (Reuters) - The president of the Syrian National Coalition grouping rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad said on Monday that world failure to back the revolt was the main reason why he had offered his resignation.
Moaz Alkhatib was appointed to head the coalition last November, after Western and Gulf diplomacy to make the opposition to Assad more united. His resignation on Sunday threatened to undo much of the work of giving international clout to the two-year armed revolt.
Alkhatib said in remarks broadcast by al-Jazeera that his views on the need to restructure and broaden the coalition had played a small part in his decision to step down.
"The bigger reason is a protest against the position of world states which are only trying to push through their wishes, aspirations or ways to solve the (Syrian) crisis without feeling the pain that people suffer every day," he said without elaborating.
Alkhatib, a former imam at Damascus's Umayyad Mosque, flew to Qatar on Monday evening deliver a speech at an Arab summit.
It was not immediately clear if Alkhatib's decision to attend the conference signaled he was going back on his resignation or not.
Moderate civilian and military factions in his hometown of Damascus on Monday urged him to reconsider his decision to quit.
On al-Jazeera, Alkhatib said: "What is happening in the coalition is a normal thing that happens in the oldest parliaments in the world."
"There are differences of views and I had a different view than to set up a provisional government but we went along with the collective view despite the differences," he added.
Alkhatib was referring to last week's decision at an opposition meeting in Istanbul to appoint Islamist-leaning technocrat Ghassan Hitto as a provisional prime minister to form a government to fill a power vacuum in Syria arising from the revolt that has killed more than 70,000 people.
The Arab summit takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Arab foreign ministers met in Doha on Sunday to prepare for the meeting. Alkhatib did not say when he would speak.
Alkhatib offered his resignation after the coalition berated him for offering Assad a negotiated deal.
(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba and Tom Perry; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Stephen Powell)
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