The leader for the Syrian Opposition Coalition on Tuesday called for the Syrian Opposition to take the seat of the Syrian Government at the United Nations on Tuesday. State Department Deputy Spokesman Patrick Ventrell declined to announce support or opposition to the request but only said that it would be something for the United Nations to decide. Ventrell did note, however, that the United States recognizes the Syrian Opposition Coalition as the “legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”
QUESTION: Can I ask you on another point he made -
MR. VENTRELL: Yeah, go ahead, Jo.
QUESTION: — which was that – so Mr. Khatib was met with thunderous applause at the Arab League today when he took up the seat of Syria.
MR. VENTRELL: Yeah.
QUESTION: And he’s also calling for the opposition to take over Syria’s seat at the United Nations.
MR. VENTRELL: Yeah.
QUESTION: Would that be something that the United States would support?
MR. VENTRELL: I mean, we really refer you to the UN on that. It’s really a UN decision, and there’s complicated parliamentary procedures they’re involved in how seats are taken from one government to another, and I really refer you to the UN on that process.
QUESTION: But I think of the Libyan instance, for example. The United States did go ahead and support it. I mean, presumably you would have as a member, and a key member of the United Nations, you would have input into that decision.
MR. VENTRELL: Right. But Jo, just to reiterate, we recognize the Syrian Opposition Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. But in terms of recognition as a government, we’re not there yet, and so there’s a process that plays out here in terms of a legal analysis of how much territory they have and how much control of the governing institutions before those kind of decisions are made. So we’re not there yet.
QUESTION: You’re not – so that is too soon, basically, to think about holding the seat at the UN?
MR. VENTRELL: I mean, again, we’re not at a point where we’re doing a switch in legal recognition or something of that nature. But again, these are things that’ll be looked at at the UN.