Syria sets precondition for transition talks

Syria sets precondition for transition talks
Sat Mar 15, 2014 14:40:42

Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations has said Damascus is not opposed to talks regarding a transitional government, but it has a precondition for such negotiations.

Bashar al-Ja’afari stated on Friday that the foreign-backed opposition must first acknowledge the existence of terrorism in Syria before the talks.

Speaking to reporters after a closed UN General Assembly meeting, the Syrian envoy further censured both UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi for not mentioning terrorism in the General Assembly meeting.

Ja’afari said fighting terrorism is the number one priority for the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Two rounds of recent talks hosted by Brahimi and held in Geneva, Switzerland, have made no progress toward an end to the crisis in Syria.

The second round of talks between delegations representing the Syrian government and the so-called Syrian National Coalition in the Swiss city of Geneva deadlocked in mid-February.

The Syrian delegation said fighting terrorism should be the top priority, but the opposition said the resignation of President Assad and the formation of a transitional government must come first.

It is not at all clear, however, how the Syrian opposition can form a new government while foreign terrorists are active in Syria. The extremist groups have fought each other and clashed also with the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC) in recent months.

According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies -- especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.


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