2 February، 2016
Head of the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation to the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva, Bashar al-Jaafari, said on Tuesday that the delegation came to Geneva without any preconditions, and it will not accept any preconditions from anyone.
Al-Jaafari told reporters in Geneva after a meeting between the delegation and the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura that “our delegation is committed to the text of the invitation letter addressed by de Mistura and that of the resolution no. 2254, whereas the other party is dealing with this matter like amateurs and not professional politicians.”
He explained that as per resolution no. 2254, the dialogue held in Geneva is among Syrians and led by the Syrians themselves without preconditions and without foreign interference, stressing that this is a key phrase for understanding why the delegation came to Geneva.
“The selection of the oppositions’ delegations, according to resolution no. 2254, is a Syrian-Syrian affair, and isn’t imposed by Riyadh or anyone else,” he added, asserting that the Syrians will decide on their own who will hold dialogue with the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation.
“We are still at the stage of preparations for the indirect talks, and we discussed with de Mistura the importance of this stage in figuring out with whom we will hold indirect dialogue. We don’t know until this moment who the other delegations that are supposed to represent the Syrian oppositions are,” al-Jaafari elaborated.
“We asked de Mistura to inform us of the names of those who are going to participate and to prepare the agenda of this dialogue or these indirect talks well,” he added, noting that the Syrian Arab Republic delegation discussed with the UN Special Envoy the important press statement issued by the UN Security Council on Monday which denounced the terrorist bombings in Sayyeda Zainab area in Damascus Countryside which claimed the lives of scores of Syrians.
“The Security Council and the Syrian government denounced the terrorist bombings, and it remains for us to hear the position of the other side regarding this terrorist massacre that took place the day before yesterday. If the other side actually cares about the lives of Syrians as it claims, we expect it to issue a statement denouncing this terrorist act,” al-Jaafari said.
Responding to a question, al-Jaafari stressed that all issues, whether humanitarian issues or combating terrorism, are priorities for the Syrian government and there can be no favoring of one issue over another, and as soon as indirect dialogue begins officially, all issues will be tackled.
“So far, we’re still in the procedural, preparatory framework of the indirect talks, meaning that we’re waiting to know who are holding dialogue with, and so far nothing is clear. Will there be one delegation or two or three or four? There are no clear answers,” he explained.
Regarding the conflicting statements of the “Riyadh opposition” delegation, al-Jaafari said that they lack seriousness, and that some statements were made in Geneva by its representative saying that they will withdraw on Thursday unless their preconditions are met, and we also heard irresponsible confirmation of this from the Saudi foreign minister and from some of those who direct the other side.
Al-Jaafari pointed out that the Syrian Arab Republic delegation arrived in Geneva on time according to the schedule set by de Mistura, and that the delegation showed discipline and didn’t speak to the media before the procedural terms were clarified so as to remain accurate and avoid any misleading of the public opinion.
He also made it clear that the delegation raised the issue of the participation of the two terrorist organizations of “Ahrar al-Cham” and “Jaish al-Islam” in the talks with de Mistura, and that the latter promised to discuss the issue with the other sides.
Regarding de Mistura’s statement on Monday that the talks have started officially, al-Jaafari said that this is de Mistura’s interpretation of the conditions of the official launch of the negotiations, stating that the current stage is a preparatory stage because official talks require the attendance of all sides to be involved in the negotiations, something which is yet to take place.
A meeting between the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic and UN Special Envoy for Syria was held earlier today at the UN headquarters in Geneva.
In the same context, UN sources and other sources close to the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic indicated that the delegation presented through de Mistura a three-point demand, including that the Riyadh opposition issue a clear statement of condemnation of the terrorist bombings that took place in al-Sayyeda Zainab on Sunday and all acts of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra and the terrorist organizations linked to them wherever they happen.
The second point was to determine lists of the names of the opposition figures to hold the indirect dialogue with, and the third point was about the role of the other opposition groups present in Geneva, according to the sources, who noted that the delegation is awaiting the answer to the three-point demand.
The sources said de Mistura promised to present the lists of opposition figures to the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation tomorrow, and that de Mistura stated that the current stage is a preliminary stage of the indirect dialogue, and once another delegation sits down with the mediator at the UN HQ, then only at that moment one can speak of an official start of the dialogue, and not now where there are only intermittent meetings.
H. Said / Hazem Sabbagh