If the purpose of the 22 October meeting in London of the “core” group of the friends of Syria – the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, the UK and the US, plus representatives of the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) – was to pave the way for the proposed Geneva-2 conference in late November, it cannot be counted a great success as it elicited a furious reaction from the party most conspicuously absent, Russia.

The final communiqué of the London meeting welcomed the Security Council’s endorsement of the June 2012 Geneva communiqué, “the objective of which is the formation by mutual consent of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB),” but went on to say, “when the TGB is established, Asad and his close associates…will have no role in Syria” and to describe the SNC as “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.” (CONTINUED - 301 WORDS)