#Geneva2 : “Syria’s Government Delegation Arrives in Geneva for Peace Talks”

#AceNewsServices says `Syria’s Government Delegation arrives in Geneva for `Second Round’of Peace Talks’

Syria’s government delegation has arrived in Geneva to take part in the second round of intra-Syrian talks due to begin on Monday, February 10, a well-informed source told Itar-Tass.

Syria's Foreign Minister and head of the“The delegation is led by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem,” the source said.

However, the composition of the opposition delegation is not yet clear. Representatives from the United Nations European office cannot tell whether the delegation would remain as it was, comprised of representatives from the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF), or whether other opposition groups would join it.

 

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#Syria : ” Kerry Apologises or there will be `No Direct Talks’ with Opposition”

#AceNewsServices says ‘No direct US Syria talks unless Kerry apologizes’according to Syrian FM.

Published time: February 02, 2014 11:36
 
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (AFP Photo / SANA)Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (AFP Photo / SANA)
The Syrian FM claims to have rejected a US offer of direct talks without the involvement of the opposition “tools” during the Geneva conference over John Kerry’s refusal to apologize for his biased speech. US officials denied seeking such a meeting.

On his way back to Syria, the country’s foreign minister Walid Muallem was asked why hadn’t the Damascus delegation spoken directly with the US without intermediaries from the opposition delegation. 

“Frankly, the Americans have asked for that in Montruex and I refused unless Kerry apologizes for the speech he made in the conference,”
 Walid Muallem told Syrian state media on board a plane bound for Damascus. 

Syria’s foreign minister was apparently referring to the opening remarks of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech made in Montreux, Switzerland on January 22, who said that President Bashar Assad lost all legitimacy and cannot be a part of any transitional government. 

“There is no way, not possible in the imagination, that the man who has led the brutal response to his own people could regain legitimacy to govern,” Kerry said in that speech. Walid Muallem rebuffed him at the time, saying no outside force had the right to “withdraw legitimacy” from the president or government except for the people of the country.

The US officials were quick to deny claims by Syria’s foreign minister that US diplomats were seeking direct negotiation with the Syrian delegation. 

“At no point did the United States offer to negotiate directly with the Syrian regime,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, though clarifying that the US indeed offered to connect with Syrian officials “on a staff level” through the United Nations and Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi.

Psaki added that the State Department will never apologize for the views expressed by the top US diplomat. “At no point will Secretary Kerry ever apologize for speaking the truth about the brutality the Assad regime has inflicted on the people of Syria,” she said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry (AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)US Secretary of State John Kerry (AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)

The peace talks that ended in Geneva on Friday producing no concrete results and no official commitment from Damascus delegation to return to the negotiation table on February 10. The government and opposition were unable to bridge their differences on cease fires, humanitarian corridors or the question of a transitional governing body. 

In a security conference in Munich, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he urged Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry “to use their influence to ensure the talks proceed as scheduled on February 10.”

Lavrov insisted that “Russia can do nothing alone” as he asked the US to apply their influence on the Syrian opposition

Muallem, meanwhile, warned the opposition will eventually suffer a “reality shock” unless they abandon their “illusions” and drop unrealistic demands. 

The Assad delegation has sought to focus the discussions on brutal acts of terrorism, and Muallem accused the opposition delegation for refusing to sign a declaration condemning such activity in Syria. 

“This rejection is a smirch on the forehead of the coalition’s delegation, and as I said yesterday that any person in the world who suffered from terrorism would adopt this draft statement,”
 Muallem said, adding that the foreign-based coalition who “live in 5-star hotels” knowing nothing about the Syrian reality.

The Syrian foreign minister also lashed out against the “unjust” international community that impose sanctions on a war-torn country. 

“It is an ‘international community’ that adopts double standards policy and mostly dominated by the US… they dominate the UN Security Council and the UN,” Muallem said. 

“When they say ‘international community’ we laugh as they do not represent the international community, for if we consider the population of Russia, China, India and the BRICS countries, we find that they are the international community.” 

Muallem questioned how could the West want to be involved Geneva dialogue and at the same time “impose sanctions on the Syrian people and children?”He asked European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton to explain how can the West can sanction a ban on food products yet at the same time discuss the issue of humanitarian aid shipments.

The foreign minister concluded by saying that in the negation process, Syria will refuse anything that contradicts the constitution. 

“This constitution was reached by a referendum and no one can reach or even think that the presidency is a topic of discussion.”

 

 

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#Geneva2 : ” Formal Discussions on `How’ to Alleviate this `Ferocious Civil War’ Ready to Commence”

#AceNewsServices says `Syrian Opposition‘ refuses to meet govt face-to-face at #Geneva2 talks

Published time: January 24, 2014 00:41
Edited time: January 24, 2014 01:53
Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Ahmad Jarba gives a press conference on the "Geneva II" peace talks, on January 23, 2014 at the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva.(AFP Photo / Philippe Desmazes)Syrian National Coalition (SNC) leader Ahmad Jarba gives a press conference on the “Geneva II” peace talks, on January 23, 2014 at the Intercontinental hotel in Geneva.(AFP Photo / Philippe Desmazes)
The Syrian opposition involved in the Geneva 2 peace talks said a face-to-face meeting with President Bashar Assad’s representatives is unlikely to happen. Formal discussions on how to alleviate the ferocious civil war are set to begin on Friday.

United Nations mediator Lakhdar Brahimi will move between the two delegations at the talks in Switzerland, which will ramp up Friday under the patronage of the UN and world powers like Russia and the United States.

Haitham Al-Maleh, a senior member of the opposition coalition, said it was “not easy” to sit in the same room with Assad’s regime during Wednesday’s opening of the conference. He does not expect the more intensive negotiations to involve the two sides sitting down with one another, either.

“I don’t think we’re ready for that yet. The gap is too big,” he told the Times of Israel.

On Thursday, the opposition stayed firm with its major demand that President Assad should step down, as his “regime is dead” and the country is looking “into the future without him.”

“This is the basis of our negotiations and we will demand it,” Syrian opposition chief Ahmed Jarba said, according to Reuters.

Syrian government officials in attendance left the talks on Thursday without making a statement, insisting that Assad has no plans to step down.

“Obviously he is not ready at this point in time,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television.

Jarba also said that Russia, Assad’s ally, has pledged it is not “holding on” to the Syrian president.“When I met Lavrov last week in Paris, he confirmed that Russia isn’t holding on to Assad,” he said.

The palpable fragility of the talks centers around arguments for and against Assad’s role in a transitional government. Both sides are threatening to pull out if their demands are not met.

“We have started to look into the future without him. Assad and all of his regime is in the past now. Nobody should have any doubt that the head of the regime is finished. This regime is dead,” Jarba said, underscoring a tenor of limited expectations at the Geneva 2 talks.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) and his delegation take part in the so-called Geneva II peace talks on January 22, 2014 in Montreux.(AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem (L) and his delegation take part in the so-called Geneva II peace talks on January 22, 2014 in Montreux.(AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)

The first day of talks in Switzerland, on Wednesday, was riddled with harsh denunciations made by both sides of the other’s lack of compromise and brutality on the ground during a fierce civil war.

Meanwhile, other participants defended their own prerogatives. Western countries, Arab states, and Turkey supported the opposition in calling for a transitional government that excludes Assad. Russia pushed for the talks to be focused on tamping down terrorism.

One opposition representative has stated that a slower, step-by-step process is needed. He said that practical moves like prisoner swaps, ceasefires, weapons withdrawals, and aid centers should be established before any talk of Syria’s political future begins.

Islamist fighters antagonistic to both Assad and the opposition officially backed by the US and others are not represented at the talks. Al-Qaeda-linked Sunni militant groups, which control large swaths of territory, have accused opposition members in attendance of being traitors. Assad’s main regional ally, Iran, is also not involved in the Geneva 2 conference. The nation’s invitation was rescinded by the UN shortly before talks began this week.

Over 130,000 people are believed to have perished since the country’s civil war broke out in 2011. Nearly a third of Syria’s 22 million residents have been displaced, and half are in need of international aid, according to Reuters.

 

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