(CAIRO) — Muslim leaders meeting in Cairo said on Thursday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a coalition of opposition forces must soon engage in “serious dialogue” on political transition to end the two-year conflict that has cost tens of thousands of lives.
The statement by the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also presented a plan to broker negotiations that might get both sides in the civil war to lay down their arms.
The carefully-worded communiqué did not try to disguise who the OIC felt is to blame for most of the problems in Syria.
It said in part, “the primary responsibility is on the Syrian government for the continuation of violence and destruction of property, and we express our deep concern at the deterioration of conditions and the spread of killings that led to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and the Syrian authorities’ commission of massacres in cities and villages.”
Suspended OIC member Syria did not attend the summit, while its chief ally Iran expressed reservations about the group’s final statement.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Greg Botelho, CNN Newswire
Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN