Al-Jaafari: ‘Riyadh Group’ Operators to Blame for Dialogue Failure

10 February، 2016
Damascus, SANA

Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari stressed that the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic definitely was not the party responsible for the failure of the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva and no rational person could say otherwise.

In a interview with the Lebanese al-Manar TV channel aired late on Tuesday, al-Jaafari clarified that the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura did not say Geneva talks failed, but considered his decision as a suspension of the dialogue, “which did not start in the first place”.

“We didn’t actually engage in dialogue neither in substance nor in terms of form. We were all the time busy handling the dangerous formality and procedural gaps, without which being tackled we couldn’t go on to the substantial part of dialogue,” he explained.

Such gaps included “which the opposition groups are, which the terrorist groups are, where the other delegations are and why the delegations are not being treated on an equal footing,” al-Jaafari added.

Asked about whose responsibility it was for the impasse in Geneva, al-Jaafari explained clearly that the official spokesman for the delegation of the so-called “Riyadh group” announced, upon their arrival in Geneva and even before reaching the hotel, that they were going to walk away from the talks by Thursday if what he called “the regime” in Syria didn’t meet their preconditions.

The instructions later came by their Saudi and Turkish operators for the “Riyadh group” delegation to walk away a day before actually did so, he said.

“They didn’t go for the sake of dialogue, but rather to foil it by setting preconditions. They knew in advance that things would go into a stalemate,” he added.

The Syrian Ambassador told al-Manar TV that the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic told de Mistura that his decision to suspend the talks was to save face, because if the envoy didn’t announce the suspension, the “Riyadh group” would announce its withdrawal anyway.

“Such a move could lead to final and complete failure of the dialogue, which what [de Mistura] didn’t want as he said, and therefore, he knows exactly that it was the ‘Riyadh group’ and their Saudi, Turkish and Qatari operators who caused the dialogue to fail before it even started,” added al-Jaafari.

Commenting on the Saudi statements on sending Saudi troops into Syria, al-Jaafari said such talk can only come from “amateur politicians who don’t realize what they are saying.”

“Let them first win in Yemen over the resistance against the Saudi occupation and then turn to Syria, where they will be duly dealt with,” he added.

Reem/H. Said