Jesuit Father Paolo Dall'Oglio last night called on Turkey and Egypt to act together on the diplomatic front to unblock the UN Security Council impasse on Syria. He spoke at a Mediterranean Assembly meeting, which also hosted Syrian democratic opposition representatives.
Turkey has in the past been an international mediator on the Iranian nuclear issue along with Brazil, and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has "shown international leadership qualities" at the recent non-aligned movement summit in Tehran, argued the Jesuit, who was expelled from Syria after 30 years of promoting interfaith dialogue there.
Italy and its civil society must also take on a role in unifying the Syrian opposition, the prelate said. He called for a refugee 'Peace Camp' to be set up in Lebanon, where Italy has a strong presence.
Dall'Oglio went on to criticize what he called a Western school of thought wlling to "negate the Syrian revolution." This is in line with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's thesis that the uprising is being carried out by "terrorists" who are manipulated by foreign powers, as a justification for government repression and torture.
The prelate also criticized statements by French President Francois Hollande and US President Barack Obama that any use by Assad of chemical weapons against the rebels in his country would bring armed international intervention in its wake. "That red line on chemical weapons is like a green light to government air force raids against the rebels," Dall'Oglio said.
Also present at the meeting was Feisal al-Mohammad, spokesman for a Free and Democratic Syria. "We do not want an intervention," the liberal opposition activist said. "All we need is for supplies to reach the rebels. And if you don't want Saudi Arabia in the mix, you you help us."