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Syrian opposition pins hopes on Geneva conference for peace

Hassan Abdel Azim, head of the

Hassan Abdel Azim, head of the main Syrian opposition.

By Zeinab Mashi

Late last month, the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council agreed to convene in Geneva, Switzerland by mid-November to hold a peace conference to end the war in Syria. Syria’s internal opposition spoke to The Atlantic Post, expressing hopes that Geneva II be a first step to achieving a political solution to the Syrian crisis.

“The only hope in solving the Syrian crisis is through the Geneva conference, which will ensure the implementation of the Geneva statement – issued on June 30, 2012 – that includes a road map to resolve the political crisis, a peaceful transition of power and the establishment of a democratic regime with the consent of the Syrian people,” said Hassan Abdel Azim, President of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria, the country’s main internal opposition.

The Geneva conference is in the preparation stage, and the delegations are being invited by the U.N. Secretary General. “The five permanent members of the Security Council have agreed on the opposition delegations that will attend the conference,” said Abdel Azim. “They are: The National Coordination Body, the Syrian National Coalition, and the Supreme Body of the Total Coalition.”

“As there is a final Russian-American agreement on the Syrian crisis and the need for a political solution to it, especially after the Syrian state agreed to hand over its chemical weapons to the United Nations, the Geneva Conference 2 will not be influenced by disagreements of the Syrian external opposition, which previously wanted a military intervention and the continuation of the armed conflict in Syria,” he said.

Abdel Azim added that the Syrian National Coalition cannot refuse to attend the conference because the SNC depends on the countries shaping its decisions to support the peaceful solution today: France, Britain and the United States. Even if the SNC refused to attend, parties within the coalition will adopt the political solution.

The opposition leader believes the military operations carried out by the Syrian regime today in various areas of Syria are detracting from any political solution. “They are only intended to improve the regime’s standing somewhat in the conference, and this is fully reflected on the armed opposition and its military operations in the country.”

Abdel Azim will attend the Geneva Conference 2 as the head of the delegation of the Coordination Body. The delegation to the conference is composed of 10 members, including Haytham Manna, Rajaa Nasser, Munther Khaddam and Jamal Mulla Mahmoud.

Hussein Ragheb, a Syrian member of parliament and chairman of the national reformation party, also spoke with The Atlantic Post. He expressed that the Syrian political solution is approaching especially following recent settlements. “The Syrian Army’s victories in Syrian areas will make the political solution easier to obtain than before,” he said.

“The political solution must accompany a military solution because of the armed gangs that are spread all over Syria and trying to ruin the country. The Syrian crisis is difficult to solve without get rid of these groups.”

Ragheb added, “Although we do not count on the Geneva II conference, it may be the start of a Syrian-Syrian solution and help us launch a Syrian national dialogue conference.”

Ragheb hopes the conference could help transform Syria into “a democratic and uniform state. And it will gather all national Syrians and renounce all those who were calling for military intervention in their own country.”

Zeinab Mashi is an Atlantic Post contributor based in Syria, between Damascus and Lattakia.


Posted on October 22, 2013

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