Opposition chief: Syrian regime not serious about peace


jarbaA tumultuous week of peace talks aimed at stemming Syria’s bloodbath ended Friday with no progress to show and a lingering standoff over President Bashar Assad’s future.

Assad’s delegation refused to commit to return to Geneva for the next round of talks in 10 days — as the U.N. mediator had proposed — and the opposition chief accused the Syrian government of not being serious about peace talks and of using the occasion to gain time.

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi struggled to find positive words as the first face-to-face talks between the warring sides concluded. Uncertainty over his proposed Feb. 10 date for a second round of peace talks and mutual accusations between the delegates over the talks’ lack of progress underscored the tremendous challenges of finding a way out of Syria’s deadly impasse.

More than 130,000 people have been killed since March 2011 in a conflict that has destabilized neighboring countries and forced millions of people from their homes. Activists said Friday that 1,900 people — including at least 430 civilians — were killed in Syria during the peace talks alone.

The rebellion against Assad’s rule has been sapped by deadly infighting among moderates, Islamic groups and al-Qaida-inspired militants competing for control of territory, weapons and influence. Much of the world appears to have lost faith in the rebels, largely because of the growing influence of Islamic extremists who reject the leadership of the Western-backed opposition.

Fears that the civil war is reaching a point where it can no longer be contained has forced the U.S. and Russia to cooperate to try and end the conflict.

Opposition chief Ahmad al-Jarba said Assad was pressed by his Russian backers to take part in the talks but did not authorize his delegation to engage toward finding a real solution because “he knows that would be his end.” He said the opposition will never accept having Assad — whose family has ruled Syria since 1970 — stay in power.

“For us, this family is finished from the memory of the Syrians, all that is left is blood, fire and terrorism,” he said. “We will not accept for this man or anyone from his family to rule the country again.”

Al-Jarba spoke to The Associated Press before leaving for Munich, Germany, where he was to meet with the U.S. and Russian foreign ministers and ahead of a trip to Moscow. He said he was pinning his hopes on a positive role by the Russians, who have long been a key ally of Assad.

Earlier, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem denied the government had succumbed to Russian pressure by agreeing to attend the talks.

“We are here to find a political solution. We were unable to achieve that,” he claimed

Brahimi tried to put a good face Friday on the talks, telling reporters at the end of the eighth consecutive day of negotiations that despite a lack of tangible results, he found 10 areas of possible “common ground.”

“Progress is very slow indeed, but the sides have engaged in an acceptable manner. This is a modest beginning on which we can build,” Brahimi told reporters at the U.N.’s European headquarters in the Palais des Nations.

“The gaps between the sides remain wide; there is no use pretending otherwise. Nevertheless, during our discussions, I observed a little bit of common ground – perhaps more than the two sides realize or recognize,” he said. “Things have gone so far down that they are not going to get out of the ditch overnight.”

Brahimi said the opposition has committed to joining a second round of talks in Geneva on Feb. 10. Al-Moallem, however, said before the government decides to return to Geneva, Assad will hear a report on what took place during the past week in Switzerland.

The minister also dismissed the opposition’s demand for a new governing body to eventually transfer power from Assad.

“We already have a government. When we see there is a real partner with which we can forge a future for the country, they are welcome to join this government,” he said.

The weeklong negotiations had been strained over the opposition’s demand for — and the government’s resistance to — a transfer of power in Syria. They also failed to achieve any concrete results, especially on possible humanitarian aid convoys to besieged parts of Homs.

Al-Jarba said the talks would not be open ended, adding that the second round would determine whether there was sufficient ground to continue.

Washington Post



6 responses to “Opposition chief: Syrian regime not serious about peace”

  1. 5thDrawer Avatar

    Ah yes … ‘forging the future’.
    That number of 130,000 is tiring out … I think 10,000 more could easily be added by now, especially if you include the ones who die in refugee camps, or from diseases no-one can be inoculated against.

    1. The real lebanese Avatar
      The real lebanese

      130,000 for sure dead. This number doesn’t include another tens of thousand who are in prisons or are being held captive and could possibly “disappear.” I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the number was actually around 150,000.

  2. #Syria #Daraya: Whilst the #Geneva2 party continues, an entire family of 8 members was martyred, out of which 5 children passed away after an exploding barrel yesterday.

    More than 20 explosive barrels were shelled on #Daraya yesterday.

    The participants of the Geneva2 conference are all culpable in this. The worst is knowing that the rulers of Turkey openly make alliances with the West in order to stop the rise of the Khilafah State with no shame nor honour.

    1. Where’s the honor is beheading, where’s the honor in openly calling Christians, Alawites, and Shiites infidels. Where’s the honor in blowing yourself up and killing innocent people. Where’s the honor in lining people up and shooting them point blank whilst screaming out Allah Akbar them throwing their bodies into a river. Where’s the honor in kidnapping innocent nuns. Where’s the honor in wiping out over 15 villages killing woman and children. I can continue if you like.

      1. Maborlz Ez-Hari Avatar
        Maborlz Ez-Hari

        They’re honour is growing a beard and developing a brown crust on their empty foreheads. That’s their honour, it’s a little different to the meaning normal people associate with that word.

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