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Syria’s Alkhatib to address Doha meeting despite quitting

Syrian National Coalition leader Moaz Alkhatib speaks to the media after meeting with Arab League head Nabil al-Arabi in Cairo in this February 11, 2013 file photo. — Reuters picSyrian National Coalition leader Moaz Alkhatib speaks to the media after meeting with Arab League head Nabil al-Arabi in Cairo in this February 11, 2013 file photo. — Reuters picCCAIRO, March 25 — Syrian opposition figure Moaz Alkhatib said he would address an Arab League meeting in Qatar this week, a day after he announced his resignation as head of the Syrian National Coalition.

The Arab summit takes place tomorrow and Wednesday. Arab foreign ministers met in Doha yesterday to prepare for the meeting. Alkhatib did not say when he would speak.

"I have decided to give a speech in the name of the Syrian people at the Doha conference," he wrote on his Twitter account.

"This is a matter that has nothing to do with the resignation, which will be discussed later," he said.

Alkhatib was picked as head of the coalition after it was formed in November. He was seen as a moderate bulwark against the rising influence of al Qaeda-linked forces fighting in the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

Alkhatib did not give a full explanation for his decision to quit. In a statement yesterday, he said he was resigning so he could work more freely.

He resigned after the coalition berated him for offering Assad a negotiated deal and after the group went ahead, despite his objections, with steps to form a provisional government that would have further diminished his authority. — Reuters

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