No peace deal in Syria without US: Opposition

2017-03-28 22:52
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - A political deal to end the Syrian conflict is not possible without a strong US role, says Mohamad Sabra, the opposition's chief negotiator, warning that Washington's absence was threatening ongoing peace talks.

Sabra said that the UN-backed talks in Switzerland remained "stalled".

"There can be no real and viable political solution without the presence of the Americans," he said.

The United States has a "moral duty" to throw its weight behind efforts to end the six-year conflict, he added.

Securing ceasefires

Years of diplomatic initiatives have failed to end the war, which has killed more than 320 000 people and displaced millions since it started in March 2011 with protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Washington has long been the biggest backer of the Syrian opposition, but it appears to be putting far less diplomatic muscle towards the rebel cause since President Donald Trump came to power in January.

Two UN-backed taskforces co-chaired by the United States and Russia and aimed at securing ceasefires and access for humanitarian aid in Syria seem to be having less impact.

At the same time, regime supporters Russia and Iran along with rebel-backer Turkey have been pushing separate negotiations in Astana since January after gains on the ground by Damascus turned the tables in the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was on Tuesday set to host his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani for talks that are being closely watched for signs of their next moves in Syria.

Closer cooperation between the two Syrian regime supporters will likely go even further in marginalising US influence in the peace process.

Air strikes

While urging Washington to be more fully engaged in the peace process, Sabra warned that a deal would be impossible "if the Russians do not withdraw their (military) support for the regime".

Russia's entry into the conflict in September 2015 - when it began launching air strikes to shore up Assad's forces - played a significant role in turning the tide for the Syrian regime.

The HNC delegation was expected to meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Genady Gatilov on Wednesday, after he met with the government delegation on Tuesday.

Sabra also reiterated the HNC's often-repeated claim that the Syrian government delegation, headed by the country's ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari, was "not seriously involved" in the talks.

"Until now, we don't have a partner in these negotiations," he insisted.

Fair trial

His comments came amid a fifth round of negotiations in Geneva being mediated by UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura which have remained clouded by persistent violence on the ground and deadlock over the country's political future.

The government has ruled out discussing Assad's possible departure, while the HNC says it will refuse any deal that leaves him in power.

Sabra insisted that "once the transitional government is formed," Assad's regime would end, and he "and his clique will be referred to a fair trial" for their crimes.

Read more on:    bashar al-assad  |  donald trump  |  us  |  russia  |  switzerland  |  syria conflict

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.