Geneva II Conference opens in Switzerland

International peace talks to address Syria's almost three-year-old civil war opened in Montreux near Geneva on Wednesday.

Geneva II Conference opens in Switzerland

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Geneva II Conference gathers on Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreaux where around 40 states and several international organizations will participate to find a political solution for the ongoing Syrian civil war.

A few hours ahead of the conference start, US Secretary of the State John Kerry and Russian FM Sergei Lavrov met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN-Arab League Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

The meeting was closed to press and no information was released concerning the content of the meeting.

UN Secretary General Ban also met a delegation of the Syrian opposition led by Ahmed Cabra, the Chairman of Syrian National Council for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SNCORF).

According to a statement released by the UN, discussions on the second session of the Geneva conference to be held on January 24 between the Syrian regime and opposition groups in Geneva was handled in the meeting.

The order of speakers at the international conference on Syria has also been confirmed.

The President and Foreign Minister of Switzerland Didier Burkhalter will make the opening speech, followed by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, and other speakers.

The League of Arab States, European Union, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are the international organizations will also take part in the conference.

The final list of countries that are invited are: Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Holy See, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Syrian opposition (Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces), Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States of America.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will deliver a speech at the conference, which will start at 9 a.m. and is estimated to end at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon met with the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, with Dr. Nabil Elaraby ahead of the Geneva-II on Tuesday.

The pair discussed intra-Syrian negotiations, including the issue of blocked humanitarian access.

Syrian regime and opposition announce delegations

Syria's Assad regime and opposition group, National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSORF) - who as of Tuesday will no longer includes the Syrian National Coalition - announced on the same day their delegations for the Geneva II peace talks, due to commence on January 22.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem is to head the nine-person delegation for the country, according to reports from Syria’s official news agency SANA.

The Foreign Minister will be joined by Information Minister, Umran ez-Zubi; Assad's political and media advisor, Bouthanina Shaaban; deputy foreign ministers, Faisal Al-Moqdad and Ahmed Faruk Arnus; former secretary of state, Husameddin Ala; Syrian Permanent Representative to UN, Bashar Jaafari; press officer, Luna Shabal; and diplomat, Osama Ali, SANA reports.

Diplomats in the delegation were chosen from those who are not accused by the opposition of 'committing crimes' and did not serve in the security forces.

Chairman of the Legal Committee, Heysem El-Malih will head the delegation of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSORF).

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, NCSORF member, Ahmed Chakal said that their delegation will include: Chairman of NCSORF, Ahmed el-Jarba; deputy chairmen, Nur el- Amir and Abdulhakim Bashar; secretary-general, Bedir Camus; members of the political committee, Nizar el-Hakim and Mishel Kilo; members of the general assembly, Hadi el-Bahra, Enes el Abde, Muammed Husam Hafız, Muhammed Sabra, Ibrahim Berru, Ubetde Nuhas, Abdulahad Sutayfu, Abdulhamid Dervish; and the Head of the Syria Aid Coordination Unit (ACU), Suheyl el-Atasi and Rima Fuleyhan.

Chakal also said there were four more delegation members whose name has not yet been announced.

Turkey PM: We expect a result at Geneva II

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes that the European Union (EU) has to take the necessary actions to stop the violence in Syria after a special report published on Monday exposed the torture and execution of around 11,000 detainees.

"We are expecting a result from Geneva II peace talks in which Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will attend. I think the result will be a vital one. If a result does not appear at the conference, then the participants will also have a responsibility [for the violence in Syria]," Erdogan said during a press conference with the Head of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz in Brussels on Tuesday.

The prime minister also stressed that Turkey is currently sheltering around 700,000 refugees, in contrast to EU countries which are sheltering 60,000.

"Turkey has spent over US$2 billion on refugees, including aid issued to the UN, in which it has donated US$130 million. Turkey is conducting these efforts with an open-door policy," Erdogan added.

"It is not possible that Russia, Iran and China can ignore the incidents in Syria and I hope for a positive result at the conference."

The Head of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz expressed what Turkey does with Syria and Syrian refugees is appreciated and said that Turkey was one of the key partners of EU.

US: Geneva must be led by UN

Following a report of alleged systematic torture and execution of prisoners at the hands of the Syrian government, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf on Tuesday reaffirmed the US’ commitment to ending Syria’s nearly three-year conflict through a negotiated settlement.

“These show systematic violations, you know, of Syrians' human rights; terrible, awful conditions in the prisons, but this is exactly why we are committed to doing everything to end this bloodshed. […] This isn't for the United States to impose,” said Harf on a conference call with members of the press.

She added, “This is a process led by the U.N. that we are a key part of, but certainly not the ones driving the process to help get a political transition in place here. And that's exactly what they're going to be focused on over the next few days in Montreux and Geneva.”

Her comments follow the publication of a report that catalogued 55,000 photos of 11,000 tortured and starved Syrian detainees. The photos were allegedly smuggled out of Syria by a former military police officer codenamed “Caesar”.

Harf said the US had no reason to doubt the authenticity of the photos. She added that such images “illustrate apparent actions that would be serious international crimes.”

Last Mod: 22 Ocak 2014, 11:59
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Evaldas Razminas
Evaldas Razminas - 5 yıl Before

I hope to learn of a start to peace. May We All live as one. Kindly ask Us to live as one in all of peace.