Syrian opposition insists on direct talks with regime

Asharq Al-awsat 2017-12-13 14:30:00

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The Syrian opposition responded to regime’s attempts to fail the Geneva talks by insisting on having direct negotiations with the regime delegation to end the crisis. However, regime delegation shut the door on any possibility especially after they left the meeting with UN envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura without delivering any statement.

On Tuesday, de Mistura met separately with delegations of the regime and the unified opposition at the ongoing Syria peace talks in Geneva.

The opposition issued a statement on Tuesday insisting on direct negotiations and reiterating that the dialogue with the regime stems from ending the humanitarian catastrophe and ensuring a safe and neutral environment.

The opposition’s delegation reiterated that all negotiations are based on the principles of consensus, adding: "we strive to give the upper hand to the people and to bring them back the authority throughout the full implementation of UNSCR 2254. We shall do whatever it takes to accomplish that."

The opposition added that the remaining week of Geneva round is a serious opportunity to start direct negotiations, and "we call on the regime to engage seriously."

After the meeting with UN Envoy, the opposition spokesman Yahya Aridi told reporters that Geneva is the place for discussing any political matter and any other contribution should be pouring into the Geneva talks, adding: "the regime is not interested in getting involved in the political process, our priority is making Syria a safe place to come home to."

Syrian regime’s delegation led by Bashar al-Jaafari held a second round of meetings with UN envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura at UN’s headquarters in Geneva for the eighth round of talks between the government and the unified opposition delegations.

Opposition delegation spokesperson Ahmed Ramadan told Anadolu Agency that the regime resorts to rejecting suggestions and setting preconditions.

"They rejected direct talks and this is a clear message to the UN that they do not want serious negotiations," said Ramadan, adding that the regime wants to maintain bilateral talks through the UN and not direct ones.

Reports came out on Monday claiming that de Mistura told the opposition delegation that they need to be realistic and that the opposition "had lost international support". The opposition denied those rumors confirming that they are inaccurate.

Legal adviser at the coalition Hisham Mrowwe indicated that the reports are inaccurate and de Mistura was discussing the importance of Geneva talks, he added the opposition’s commitment to UN Resolution.

Speaking to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Mrowwe stated that regime wants to give an impression that Geneva talks are not successful.

He confirmed that the opposition is working on adhering to the Geneva conference, under an international umbrella, to prevent the negotiations from derailing into other tracks rejected by the opposition, and on getting the regime to direct negotiations which they reject. 

Mrowwe stressed that adherence to the Geneva process "stems from the fact that it is an international reference" which will shut the door on any attempt to transfer the negotiations to another path that does not enjoy international support.

He considered that the rejection of direct negotiations by the regime "is aimed at aborting and obstructing the negotiations."

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