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Syrian Coalition: De Mistura is diluting expectations for political process in Geneva

BEIRUT |, with agencies - January 27, 2016, 08h19
The Syrian opposition committee was formed at Ryadh conference.

Burhan Ghalioun, a member of the Syrian Coalition, said yesterday that UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura is diluting expectations from the Geneva conference by insisting the UN will be hosting talks rather than negotiations.

"Clearly there will be no negotiations between the opposition and the Assad regime to achieve a specific goal, but rather a Syrian forum under the auspices of the UN envoy will convene at the expense of the main issue. Thus, there will be neither accountability nor transition towards democracy but talks and endless discussions,” Ghalioun added.

“The sole goal of the upcoming Geneva meeting is to brief Mr. De Mistura so that he can re-draft specific points bearing in mind with international pressure exerted by various powers before submitting these points to the UN Security Council. De Mistura’s only guidelines in this mission are the four points proposed earlier by the Iranians, which are aimed at preserving the Assad regime and their influence in Syria,” he stressed.

Ghalioun went on to say that “the informal talks that De Mistura will host in Geneva assume that the problem is not in the Assad regime, but between Syrians themselves. This approach will not only exempt the Assad regime from responsibility for the crisis, but will also present the regime as the only salvation for a community that is fragmented and divided. Likewise, Tehran will appear as a guarantor of Syria’s unity after it was the dynamite that blew it apart."

"We live in a time where things are turned upside down; a criminal becomes the victim and the victim becomes the executioner, all this behind takes place a veneer of affable but false talk about a political solution, peace and reconciliation," Ghalioun added.

US puts pressure on Syrian opposition

The coalition's Vice-president Hisham Marwa stressed that “Russian allegations that there are "terrorists" in the opposition’s negotiating delegation aim to discredit the delegation and disrupt the political process. Russia, meanwhile, has not interfered or even commented on the regime’s negotiating delegation.”

“The ball is now in the court of the Assad regime, its allies and Mr. de Mistura, who is expected to pressure them to implement the commitments they have made. This represents the most basic duty de Mistura has as an intermediary for the negotiation process and also as an international envoy. Wriggling out of the Geneva Communique of 2012 and the relevant international resolutions will not resolve the bloody Syrian conflict,” Marwa added.

According to AFP agency, Syria's opposition coalition said on Monday they had a tense meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry last weekend. AFP was quoting a member of the coalition, who declared that Kerry applied "pressure" during their meeting in Saudi Arabia, warning the opposition risked "losing friends" if they failed to attend the talks.

#DeMistura, #Syria, #United_Nations
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