Syrian rebels seek Russian rethink before 'Geneva III'

The Syrian opposition calls on U.N. envoy Brahimi to exert pressure on Moscow.

Syrian rebels seek Russian rethink before 'Geneva III'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Syrian National Coalition spokesperson Louay Safi said Tuesday that the opposition group would attend ‘Geneva III’ talks, provided a senior U.N.-Arab League envoy put pressure on Russia to change its position on the Syrian crisis.

The coalition has called on Lakhdar Brahimi to convince U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to put pressure on Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov to change the Moscow’s position.

“Then we can consider the resumption of negotiations with the Assad regime,” Safi said.

Safi's remarks came after reports about a possible trilateral meeting between Brahimi, Sherman and Bogdanov in Geneva on April 10 to discuss the prospects of holding a Geneva III conference, a final attempt to settle the crisis. Brahimi has reportedly threatened to resign his envoy position.

"The Russians must change their stance and help end the suffering of the Syrian people and achieve their goals in freedom and dignity," according a press release from the coalition, which represents several groups fighting to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

The coalition’s spokesperson also said that Russia should take a clear position on making the Assad regime agree to a political solution as well as lifting its U.N. Security Council veto "protecting" the government in Damascus.

"When we hear a clear statement from the Russians that proves their insistence on reaching a political solution, then we can discuss the participation in future peace talks in the meetings of the political committee.

“But it is unlikely that Russia will change its position, based on the history of the Russian position towards the Syrian revolution that has not changed in more than three years," Safi added.

"The Assad regime must re-engage in peace talks to bring about a political solution, especially with the increasing risk of the violence spilling over into Lebanon after the intervention of the terrorist militias of Hezbollah on the side of the Assad regime," Safi said.

Following the conclusion of the second round of Syria peace talks in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry criticised the Syrian government while hailing the opposition’s open stance on discussions.

Brahimi has already stated that the delegation of the Assad regime at those talks declined to discuss the Geneva II declaration or the formation of a transitional governing body.

Syria has been in turmoil since 2011 when a peaceful uprising against President Bashar al-Assad escalated into civil war following a violent government crackdown.

According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, more than 136,000 people have been killed since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011.

Last Mod: 01 Nisan 2014, 14:26
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