No return to Geneva if humanitarian demands are not met, Syria opposition says
by Daily Sabah with Wires
ISTANBULFeb 03, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with Wires
Feb 03, 2016 12:00 am
Syria's main opposition group will not return to peace talks until their humanitarian demands are met, chief coordinator Riad Hijab said Wednesday, after the UN suspended negotiations in Switzerland until Feb. 25. The group "will leave Geneva tomorrow (Thursday) and will not return until humanitarian demands are met or (we) see something on the ground," Hijab told reporters.
The High Negotiations Committee "came [to Geneva] because of these assurances, but the opposite happened," he said. "Nothing transpired on the humanitarian front, and the regime caused the political process to fail."
"Unfortunately whenever there begins a political process, the regime feels threatened and uses these kinds of tactics," Hijab said. "The whole world sees who is making the negotiations fail. Who is bombing civilians and starving people to death."
In a separate news conference, chief Syrian regime negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari blamed the failure on opposition "preconditions". "Since its arrival... [the HNC] refused to take part in any serious talks with the [U.N.] special envoy," state news agency SANA quoted Jaafari as saying.
UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura said earlier on Saturday that the "temporary pause" was needed because there is "more work to be done, not only by us but the stakeholders," referring to outside powers embroiled in the conflict. "It is not the end or the failure of the talks," he said.
The comments came after several days of fruitless talks, during which de Mistura tried to coax the Syrian regime and opposition into beginning six months of indirect talks.
US, France accuse Assad of scuppering Syria peace talks
The U.S. and France have accused President Bashar Assad's regime of undermining the talks to end Syria's civil war, which were suspended hours before donors were due to meet on Thursday to raise aid for the conflict-torn country.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius accused Damascus and Russia of "torpedoing the peace efforts" by launching an offensive near Aleppo, and said world powers would hold "in-depth consultations" regarding their actions at the conference.
The UN paused fruitless peace negotiations on Wednesday, as the Syrian government said it had cut a key supply route to Syria's second city from the Turkish border with the help of Russian air strikes.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said the Syrian government's push to grab territory while negotiations were meant to be getting underway proved the regime was not serious about the talks.
"The continued assault by Syrian regime forces – enabled by Russian air strikes – against opposition-held areas... have clearly signaled the intention to seek a military solution, rather than enable a political one," he said.