The Syrian opposition has dismissed any talks with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the leader of the rebel Syrian National Council (SNC), Burhan Ghalioun, said on Tuesday.
Ghalioun, a Paris-based academic, heads the SNC delegation that arrived in Russia on the invitation of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a landmark move towards a peaceful settlement in Syria.
“The opposition is not going to hold any preliminary or preparative talks with the regime in Damascus. Talks can only be dedicated to the establishment of a new democratic civil society,” Ghalioun said, adding that all the Syrian authorities should drop their ties with the regime since it had come to an end.
In early September, during talks with French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, Lavrov said that the refusal of the Syrian opposition to hold talks with the government meant they were seeking international backing similar to that received by the Libyan rebels.
Lavrov then warned that international support for the Syrian opposition could lead to "new bloodshed" in the country.
The Syrian National Council is one of the biggest representative bodies of the opposition. It was established in Istanbul in August, 2011. The Council comprises 230 opposition political figures, both living in Syria and abroad.