11 November 2013, 04:42

Syrian opposition agrees to join in Geneva peace talks - statement

Syrian opposition agrees to join in Geneva peace talks - statement

The Western-backed Syrian opposition agreed to participate in international peace talks in Geneva, the Syrian National Coalition said in a statement early on Monday.

The statement, translated from Arabic, outlined conditions that must be met before the talks, which aim to end Syria's two-and-a-half year civil war, by creating a transitional governing body.

There must be a guarantee that relief agencies would be allowed access to besieged areas, the release of political prisoners and any political conference should result in a political transition, the statement said.

Following some opposition to the Geneva process from rebel fighters, the statement said that a committee had been assigned to continue talks with revolutionary forces inside and outside Syria to explain its stance on "Geneva 2," as the talks are referred to in diplomatic circles.

The Syrian National Coalition reached the consensus decision after two days of discussions.

"All we can do is hope is that these (Geneva) talks will end with the departure of Bashar al-Assad," said Adib Shishakly, a member of the coalition.

Syrian opposition says won’t go to Geneva-2 without its military wing – reports

The Syrian opposition will not attend the Geneva-2 international conference on a peace settlement in Syria if its military wing does not take part, Khalid Saleh, official spokesman for the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF), said after a NCSROF meeting in Istanbul.

“There is dialogue and partnership between us, and we will work together with those brigades [Free Syrian Army (FSA)]. We are on one side and fighting our common enemy,” he told reporters.

Earlier, Saleh voiced the opposition’s readiness to participate in Geneva-2. He said that the opposition was expecting a letter from Moscow explaining Russia’s position on the Syrian issue.

The opposition holds that the government of Bashar al-Assad cannot be part of a transitional period, Saleh said.

Voice of Russia, Reuters, RIA

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