Syria warns over opposition stance on Geneva talks

Syria warns over opposition stance on Geneva talks
Mon Jan 13, 2014 18:24:36

Syria warned on Monday against preconditions for peace talks in Switzerland next week, a day after an opposition leader claimed President Bashar al-Assad's departure was "inevitable".

"Any person who seeks preconditions or mistakes their dreams for reality is leading to the failure of the Geneva conference before it even starts," Syrian state media quoted a foreign ministry source as saying.

The statement came after the Sunday meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria, a grouping of nations that back the militant and terrorist groups in Syria, which the government terms the "Enemies of Syria".

Speaking at the end of the meeting, the president of Syria's opposition National Coalition Ahmed Jarba said: "We all agreed that there is no future for Bashar al-Assad and his family in Syria."

"His departure is inevitable," he claimed.

The Syrian government has said it will attend the peace talks -- to be held January 22 in the town of Montreux instead of Geneva as originally planned -- but that Assad's departure from office is not on the table.

"We consider any statement, opinion or announcement before the Geneva conference to be worthless, desperate attempts by certain people to hide the defeats of their gang on the ground," state media quoted the foreign ministry source as saying.

"Syria pays no attention to those outside the country who speak in the name of the Syrian people, whether they are Arabs or Westerners," the source added.

"The Syrian people are the only ones who can decide what they want and who can choose their leaders and the nature of their state."


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