There will be no progress in discussions while terrorism ravages Syria

Shaaban: There can be no discussion of any political course while terrorism ravages Syria

Feb 11, 2014


Geneva, (SANA delegate) – Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban stressed that no discussion of a true political course can be realistic at a time when terrorism is ravaging Syria.

In statements to journalists on Tuesday, Shaaban said that the Syrian official delegation has no qualms about reaching an agenda for talks as long as counterterrorism comes first and transitional government second.

She said that the Syrian official delegation is operating in a constructive and positive manner in an attempt to put an end to the terrorism affecting the Syrian people, while the coalition delegation refused to even acknowledge that there is terrorism in Syria.

“What can we name what happened in Maan in Hama? Who killed the women and children and the elderly? Who commits massacres against the Syrian people?” Shaaban asked.

In response to claims by the coalition delegation that a transitional government will be able to stop terrorism, Shaaban said that if they think than any government can stop terrorism, then let them tell us how, and that if there is a force in the world that can do so, why isn’t it doing it now?

She stressed that the other side only wants to talk about a transitional government in order to take power, and that their main driving force isn’t the Syrian people or stopping bloodshed, while the primary concern of the Syrian government’s delegation is stemming the bloodshed then launching a political process leading to a transitional government.

“The allegations of some people like Michel Kilo that a transitional government can fight terrorism means that they’re linked to terrorism and to the flow of arms into Syria and that they approve of this until they become part of the government, and this is a grave problem because it means that they encourage terrorism so that they can take a place in the Syrian government and will not agree to stop terrorism until the transitional government is formed, and this is a dangerous thing,” she said.

Shaaban pointed out that the difference between the official delegation and the coalition delegation isn’t about their priorities, but rather the priorities of the Syrian people who want terrorism to end, asserting that as soon as the issue of terrorism is dealt with and principles for stopping the arming, funding and flow of terrorism are reached, the official delegation will have no problem with discussing the transitional government or any other item of the Geneva communiqué.

She voiced hope that the US-Russian agreement will result in practical steps to stopping violence and terrorism, noting that previous experiences with the US in this regard aren’t encouraging, as when the first round of talks was taking place, the US announced it will continue arming and funding terrorists in Syria, therefore there is problem with the US credibility and the difference between what they say and what they do.

Shaaban also hoped that the US has reached the conclusion that takfiri Wahabi terrorism must be stopped in Syria, noting that UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi can impose certain things, but he can’t impose more than what he is imposing currently.

Shaaban stressed that the coalition delegation does not have independent decision or will and they seem to be not aware about what is going on in Syria and about the suffering of the Syrian people, adding that everything the coalition delegation is doing is prompted by the US, France, Britain and Saudi Arabia.

She pointed out that the coalition delegation is not concerned about the suffering of the Syrian people and they are presenting proposals that violate the spirit of Geneva 1 Communique which starts with combating violence and terrorism , noting that the coalition delegation is talking about “parallel track” that is the transitional government and combating terrorism at the same time which is not consistent with Geneva 1 Communique.

Shaaban reiterated the necessity of the international and regional sides’ will to reach agreement because what is happening in Syria is a part of a scheme against the entire region.

She said that those who stand behind the coalition want some of their allies to reach to the authority and they want these groups which are implementing foreign agendas to have a voice in Syria.

Shaaban expressed belief that the international backers of the opposition have now become aware about the danger of terrorism which is in part linked to some of the backers, adding that some countries which call themselves “Arab countries” and the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey are funding and arming terrorism.

She warned those who are supporting terrorism that what they are doing will lead in the long term to expanding the danger of terrorism to reach their countries, noting that those want to destroy the institutions of the Syrian state.

Shaaban refuted the possibility that the Syrian official delegation and the coalition delegation would join the troika meeting comprising Russia, the US and the UN, saying, “The Syrian government decided that dialogue should be among the Syrians under the supervision of the UN with no interference from other sides.”

H. Sabbagh/F.Allafi

Mikdad: Coalition delegation’s rejection of acknowledging presence of terrorism in Syria hindered agreement

Feb 11, 2014

Geneva, (SANA delegate) – Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Dr. Fayssal Mikdad said that the coalition delegation’s rejection to acknowledge the presence of terrorism in Syria has hindered reaching an agreement on an agenda for talks in Geneva, asserting that the coalition delegation behaves as instructed by paper clippings that come from outside the meeting room.

Mikdad said in a press conference on Tuesday that the Syrian official delegation insisted during today’s talks on the need for a clear agenda reflecting the spirit and sequence of the first Geneva communiqué items, reiterating that the Syrian official delegation is prepared to discuss anything and has no fears on any of the communiqué’s items.

He said that the coalition delegation is far removed from the spirit of the first Geneva communiqué and didn’t want to enter any political activities from the start, rejecting completely to include terrorism on the agenda of discussions.

“Those who come out with statements far removed from what is happening in the meetings have rejected clearly and openly to include terrorism in the conference’s discussions, saying that there’s no terrorism in Syria, no Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, no Jabhet al-Nusra, and no Islamic Front, and this again proves that they live in an illusionary, unreal, deceptive and false world.

“We cannot accept bypassing the first item – which is the most important one – of the Geneva communiqué on counterterrorism… those who refuse to discuss this item seeks to create and support terrorism to kill the Syrian people,” Mikdad said.

He stressed the need for halting violence and terrorism in Syria, because it’s unacceptable to squander the blood of Syrians being shed by terrorists who came from all over the world, adding that all the terrorists who came to Syria and killed Syrians – whether they came through the Turkish or Jordanian borders or from the occupied lands – are trained and came to Syria to achieve solely Israeli goals.

Mikdad called upon all countries of the world to combat the terrorism which Syria is combating.

He asserted that the Syrian official delegation will continue participating in the Geneva meeting to relay the voice and suffering of the Syrian people and reach a solution to the crisis in Syria, stressing that stemming bloodshed must be a priority to all Syrians to allow them all to live in peace.

Answering a question on the reasons why the coalition delegation is focusing on the issue of transitional government, Mikdad said, “We are talking about a transitional government as there seems to be hunger for authority over the Syrian people and we have come here to discuss everything according to Geneva Communiqué and its first item which is stemming violence and terrorism while they (the coalition delegation) are discussing these issues according to the instructions they receive from the others.”

He asserted that the opposition is required to respect the basic principles of dialogue and discussion and the Syrian official delegation supports any kind of discussions but preparations for them should be made as the coalition delegation has wasted all the time and they said that there is no terrorism in Syria.

He added that the Russian friends expressed concerns over the lack of seriousness on the part of the coalition.

Mikdad noted that the agenda of discussions should be specified by the two Syrian sides, adding that tomorrow they will discuss the agenda but the Syrian official delegation cannot accept any form of avoiding the first item of Geneva Communique which is combating terrorism.

In response to a question on whether Brahimi stressed the issue of expanding the opposition delegation, Mikdad said, “We stressed on that in the previous rounds and the message was delivered, so if they wanted to slow down this weak and unrepresentative delegation that is up to those who formed the delegation because the Syrian opposition did not form this delegation frankly.”

Mikdad pointed out that the coalition delegation believes that the priority is forming a transitional governing body, but this is not the priority of the Syrian official delegation and this is irresponsible matter on their part and contradicts the content of Geneva 1 Communique.

“If we do  not reach agreement on stemming bloodshed in Syria, there will not be any agreement because the Syrians are looking forward to Geneva for ending bloodshed, preventing foreign intervention in their affairs and stopping funding and training and arming the terrorists,” Mikdad said.

He added, “Throughout the past three years, the Syrian leadership proposed several plans to end the situation but foreign intervention foiled all efforts exerted to achieve the aspirations of the Syrians which are stopping violence and terrorism.”

“If we take into consideration that the US is directing the coalition delegation which is rejecting even the discussion of terrorism, this means that the US administration is not serious in combating terrorism in Syria and this is the logical conclusion,” he said.

“We do not want at all to seek militarization, and we have said from the first day that we support peaceful solution,” Mikdad stressed.

He added that the Syrian government has made remarkable progress during the past two years working to evacuate innocent citizens from the areas which are under the control of the armed groups.

Answering a question on the agreement on the so-called “transitional body”, Mikdad said, “We believe that an expanded national transitional government is more accurate, and we support democracy and against the titles and conceptions which are not understood by the Syrian people.”

Commenting on information that fighters who were trained by Israelis in al-Jouf city in Saudi Arabia to come to Syria through Jordan during the upcoming days, Mikdad said, “It is not strange because everyone who came to Syria through the Turkish borders or the Jordanian borders and even from inside the Syrian occupied territories by the Israeli enemy and killed Syrians; those were trained and for merely Israeli interests to undermine the political stance of Syria regionally and internationally.”

H. Sabbagh/F.Allafi

Al-Zoubi: We will not discuss any Geneva communiqué item before discussing stop of terrorism

Feb 11, 2014

Geneva, (SANA) – Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said “we will not discuss any item from the first Geneva communiqué under any pressure or context before discussing stopping violence and counterterrorism and reaching agreement on this issue in detail.

In statements to the press on Tuesday, al-Zoubi said that the fact that the official delegation will not avoid discussing any item, not even the transitional government, but it insists on discussing the first item which is counterterrorism, while the other side and its backers and Saudi funders are afraid to broach this issue because it will lead to discussing the reality about terrorist organizations and armed groups and how they are funded, armed and trained.

“The other side and its backers know as well that when the issue of counterterrorism is broached, we have intelligence, documents, pictures from inside their training camps and of the ships and the planes that land and weapons, and names, so they’re afraid of broaching this detail and know in advance that once they enter this discussion, facts and real scandals will be exposed, which is why they are in a state of preemptive terror, and because they lust after power, they insist on discussing the issue of the transitional government,” he said.

Answering a question on UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi submitting an agenda that discussed violence and terrorism on Tuesday and the transitional government on Wednesday, al-Zoubi said that submitting an agenda isn’t one of Brahimi’s tasks; rather he can merely suggest one to the two sides, and the one he suggested isn’t acceptable to the official delegation.

“Can we envision that in two hours, we can discuss the issue of terrorism? After all that happened to Syria and after the conspiring? After meeting with the worst faction in the opposition which is Ford’s faction that has ties with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, Jabhet al-Nusra, and all other terrorist organizations, and whose hands are stained with blood?” He asked.

Al-Zoubi said that the other side knows that the official delegation has documents and files that indict specific figures, not just groups, with their own statements, such as when their boss al-Jarba says that the Islamic Front are rebels and not terrorism, stressing that this is a direct indictment of al-Jarba and proves that he is connected to a terrorist organization.

He asserted that the coalition’s desire to discuss terrorism in a single hour then moving on to the transitional government is a farce and a sign of lack of professionalism, betraying the internal conflicts and disarray among its members.

The Minister noted that the way issues are proposed during talks shows that even the British, American experts and the ones from other nationalities – who are staying in the same place as the coalition where they coach and direct them – are out of sync, and that instead they should be in sync with themselves and present synchronized propositions, because these sessions aren’t history lessons.

On the press conference of Brahimi, the Minister said there was nothing new for Brahimi, adding that it is clear that the coalition doesn’t respond to him and has no desire to help him at all.

He added “when we talk about stopping terrorism, we talk about a comprehensive vision on the file of terrorism which means defining what is terrorism and who are terrorists, where they have come from, who finance, arm and lead them and how could we stop them and dismiss the foreign elements outside Syria.”

The Minister said that the coalition delegation talks through a vision which is distant from the ground and geography, distant from the people’s concerns when they say that they have no relation to the martyrs as they even didn’t condemn Maan massacre.

Al-Zoubi added that Syria’s official delegation is authorized to discuss any issue in Geneva, but any agreement that could be reached, it will be proposed to the Syrian people who have the last word, affirming that the official delegation is part of the people and behaves in light of this fact.

On the nature of the tripartite meeting of Russia, US and Brahimi next Friday, al-Zoubi said that the US “supported the political process during the first round of talks through arming the terrorist groups and we don’t know what is the US step now,” clarifying that cooperation with the Russian side is continuous whether from Geneva or Damascus.  

The Minister affirmed that resorting to the UN Security Council on the humanitarian issue to exert pressures on Syria will fail for realistic reasons, adding that there are documents which prove that Syria, as a government, has spared no effort, to offer the humanitarian aid to all Syrians without any exception.

He added that the question that should be directed to the UN, gunmen, the US and the French Foreign Minister is “what is the situation in the regions besieged by the armed terrorist groups linked to the coalition and other regions including Adra, Nubul and al-Zahraa.”   

Al-Zoubi: condemnation of Maan massacre is minimum behavior that UN should adopt

In a relevant context, the Minister affirmed that condemnation is the minimum behavior that the UN should adopt towards the massacre perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups against families of Maan village in Hama countryside.

Al-Zoubi told Syrian al-Ikhbariya TV in an interview, that the UN secretary General’s condemnation is important and good, but he should not stop at this point, otherwise, the international organization has to seriously unify the efforts to combat terrorism to which Syria is exposed.

He said that Ford’s coalition has categorically rejected to condemn terrorism or discuss counter-terrorism, and this indicates they support terrorism, particularly the US which decided during the first round of talks to arm what it called “the moderate opposition.”

The Minister added that Ford’s condemnation or non condemnation of Maan massacre is not important, as he will not do so except if he received the instructions from his references, affirming that the Syrian government is determined to combat terrorism on land, separately from Geneva process and the political track.

He made clear that the collation delegation has no desire to discuss counterterrorism, but to tackle the transitional government because they deal with Geneva 1 communiqué as if it was one item which includes a transitional government, while the Syrian official delegation came to Geneva in accordance with Geneva 1 communiqué as a whole.

Al-Zoubi said that the instigators of the humanitarian file in Security Council aimed at practicing pressure on Syria and talking about so-called humanitarian corridors which violate the national sovereignty and form passages for the crossing of weapons to the terrorists.

He concluded by saying that what the French, Saudis and Turks hope for is not possible at the UN Security Council or at any other arena.          

H. Sabbagh/ Mazen

Brahimi: No significant progress made in talks, progress requires cooperation

Feb 11, 2014

Geneva, (SANA delegate) – UN Envoy to Syria Lakdar Brahimi said that no significant progress is being made in negotiations, but the utmost efforts will be exercised to make launching this process possible, which requires cooperation by both sides and foreign sides as well.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Brahmi said that he will hold a meeting on Friday with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov and US Assistant State Secretary Wendy Sherman, and the week after that he will visit New York to report to the Security Council on the talks in Geneva.

He said that Homs can be considered a success, although it was a risky process and it took too long to evacuate citizens and deliver food to it, noting that Syrian Arab Red Crescent and UN staff faced hardships and dangers in Homs.

Brahimi called on all sides to make progress and help end the crisis in Syria.

He said that the memo he sent to the two delegations before they came to Geneva took into consideration the differences in each side’s priorities and suggested discussing both issues in parallel, noting that he can’t impose an agenda on either side.

Brahimi said that talk of lifting blockades on besieges area is a positive thing that shows good intentions, hoping for further political support for this process, although it’s difficult to specify where this process will begin.

H. Sabbagh