Syrian opposition vows to show 'patience' in peace bid

2016-03-22 22:34
Syrian President Bashar Assad. (Vahid Salemi, AP)

Syrian President Bashar Assad. (Vahid Salemi, AP)

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

Geneva- Syria's main opposition said on Tuesday it would not be deterred by Damascus' refusal to discuss the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, and vowed to be patient in the ongoing peace talks.

A member of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) opposition umbrella group criticised the regime's lead negotiator in Geneva, Bashar al-Jaafari, for using inflammatory rhetoric and blocking progress towards agreement on a political transition in the war-ravaged country.

But Hisham Marwa, who serves as a consultant in the HNC delegation taking part in the UN-brokered talks, told AFP the regime position "will not affect our decision to be engaged in a political process, and to show a higher degree of responsibility and patience”.

His comments came after Jaafari on Monday once again branded the opposition as foreign-backed terrorists and reiterated that any discussion of Assad's fate was "excluded".

He also stressed though that Damascus was committed to the peace process, and that his delegation had "clear instructions from our leadership to engage seriously in these talks”.

Assad's fate has been a key obstacle in the latest talks aimed at ending Syria's devastating five-year war, which has killed more than 270 000 people and displaced millions.

"The government delegation continues to avoid discussing deadlines and is simply trying to get a rise out of the opposition," Marwa said, reiterating the HNC position that any discussion of leaving Assad in power is "absolutely unacceptable."

"A political transition means creating a new authority..., including the powers of the presidency," he said.

The apparent impasse on the crucial issue of forming a transitional Syrian government came during a second week of peace talks in Geneva, with UN mediator Staffan de Mistura eager to make gains before negotiations pause on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters on Monday evening, de Mistura said he asked Jaafari how Damascus defined the term political transition.

"He said, it was... premature to talk about it. My message was 'premature' means imminent as far as we are concerned," de Mistura said.

While conceding that progress remained slow, de Mistura stressed it was vital that opposing sides reach a basic understanding on how to move to a second round, tentatively scheduled for next month.

"I have been reminding everyone that there is no Plan B," the UN envoy said.

Read more on:    bashar al assad  |  syria

Join the conversation! 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.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.