Syria's moderate opposition calls for speedy transition
by Anadolu Agency
GENEVAMar 04, 2017 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Mar 04, 2017 12:00 am
Ongoing Syria talks in Geneva have produced calls for more international support - particularly on the part of the U.S. and Russia - to expedite the political transition in the war-torn country.
On Thursday, the eighth day of negotiations, the U.N.'s special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, held separate talks with both opposition and regime delegations at the U.N.'s office in the Swiss capital.
At a press conference Friday, opposition delegation Chairman Nasser al-Hariri said that talks between the delegation and de Mistura focused largely on proposals for a period of political transition.
"Our ultimate aim is a safe and stable Syria," al-Hariri said. "We will continue negotiations in hopes of creating a modern Syria that can serve as a model for other countries."
Describing the talks as "constructive," he went on to note that members of his delegation would meet with the U.N.'s special envoy for Syria again at midday Saturday to discuss the same topic.
"Negotiations with de Mistura and his team have been very fruitful," al-Hariri said. "We believe they [the U.N.] are serious."
"The political transition is not an easy process," he asserted. "It's not a matter that can be resolved in a week or two but requires more effort and time."
Emphasizing that the negotiation process should not be the sole responsibility of the U.N., al-Hariri said that the international community - particularly the U.S. - should also make contributions.
The U.N. special envoy for Syria also noted that a Thursday meeting with Russian deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov had been "extremely positive."
"We had a very constructive conversation in which he expressed his support," he added.
When asked about whether he would congratulate the Assad regime on its recent recapturing of the historical city of Palmyra, he said: "If we did that, we would also have to congratulate Daesh if it retakes the city."
"They [the Assad regime and Daesh] are both terrorists," he said. "Bashar Assad is a terrorist according to international law."
At the same press conference, Bashar Jaafari, head of the regime delegation, evaded questions from reporters regarding the total number of people who have lost their lives since the conflict began six years ago.
"I don't know how many people have been killed," he said without elaborating further.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to U.N figures.