Syrian opposition want Geneva talks on political transition

A man inspects the area after warcrafts belonging to Assad Regime forces attacked with vacuum bomb to Etarib district of Aleppo, Syria on January 1, 2017 [Ahmed al Ahmed / Anadolu Agency]

A man inspects the area after warcrafts belonging to Assad Regime forces attacked with vacuum bomb to Etarib district of Aleppo, Syria on January 1, 2017

The Syrian opposition wants face-to-face negotiations with the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad about a political transition at peace talks that are due to begin in Geneva next week, a leading Syrian opposition politician said today.

Salim Al-Muslit, spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said there could be no role for Al-Assad in the transition, saying “the heavy price paid by the Syrian people” would have been wasted if he remained.

Al-Muslit also said the HNC had yet to receive an agenda for the negotiations that are due to begin on 23 February after initial consultations beginning on 20 February. He said the negotiations should start with discussion of the transition.

Read: Assad ready to agree prisoner swap deal in preparation for peace talks

“We want direct negotiations, we want to save time, we want a quick end to the suffering of the Syrian people,” he said.

“We now want to get into the essence of the political process – the discussion of the political transition – and what the Geneva 1 communique stipulated about the formation of a transitional body with full powers,” he said.

He was referring to the Geneva communique of 2012 calling for the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers that could include members of the present government, the opposition, and other groups. The communique said it should be formed on the basis of mutual consent.

Also read: Hezbollah supports Syria ceasefire and political talks

The HNC, which includes opposition groups and political opponents of the Assad regime, has named a 22-member delegation to the Geneva talks.

Diplomacy has repeatedly failed to make any headway towards ending the war that has killed almost half a million Syrians, with millions more displaced or suffering horrific torture in the regime’s dungeons.

Widespread abuses have been reported by international human rights organisations, including most recently Amnesty International who described the Assad regime’s prisons as “human slaughterhouses”. Apart from wanton murder, women are raped systematically and even give birth to children who start their lives in prison.

The latest diplomacy effort was launched with Russian and Turkish support after regime forces, helped by the Russian air force and Iranian-backed Shia jihadists, defeated opposition factions in eastern Aleppo in December – their biggest setback of the war.

(Source / 15.02.2017)

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