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Syrian Opposition Discuss Political Vision,Geneva Delegation

Syrian Opposition Discuss Political Vision,Geneva Delegation

Tuesday, 21 November, 2017 - 07:00
A statement from Riad Hijab, pictured here on February 3, 2016, did not say why he was quitting the High Negotiations Committee. Pierre Albouy / Reuters

Representatives from the Syrian opposition discussed in a preparative meeting held in Riyadh on Monday their suggestions for a final statement, which they will issue next Friday following a general summit of more than 140 representatives from political parties, factions and independents.

Representatives from the Syrian National Coalition, the Russia and Cairo platforms, in addition to other independent figures discussed on Monday a final draft statement needed to ensure the success of three-day opposition talks that will kick off in Riyadh on Wednesday.

Representatives also discussed which bodies and delegations they will select as their representatives in the upcoming Geneva talks.

The Syrian opposition meting in Riyadh will take place ahead of the UN-sponsored talks in Geneva on November 28.

Meanwhile, head of the main Syrian opposition bloc Riad Hijab announced on Monday his resignation from the High Negotiations Committee, after a nearly two-year term.

Separately, Moscow was preparing a list of around 1,000 figures to attend the “Syrian National Dialogue Congress” in Sochi next month.

The Congress is expected to come out with two main issues: First, to form a committee tasked with introducing constitutional reforms, and second, to announce a leadership or a council for the Dialogue Congress.

According to some reports, Syrian opposition figures have demanded the Russian Defense and Foreign ministries to invite Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa for heading the “Syrian National Dialogue Congress” in Sochi at the start of next month.

The Russians seemed “enthusiastic” about the suggestion, pending discussing the issue at the level of leadership and probably later with Damascus.

Moscow insists on getting support for the Sochi congress. However, several states are worried that the Syrian National Dialogue Congress be a substitute to the “Geneva” talks, particularly if it aims to discuss the constitutional reform in Syria.

Earlier, UN Special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura had announced that the next Geneva talks would discuss “the constitution and the elections.”

Also, there are suggestions that the Nov. 28 Geneva talks include direct dialogue between the Syrian regime and the opposition in order to launch a constitutional reform, and that the Sochi meeting be held between Dec. 2 and 4, followed by another round of Geneva talks on Dec. 8.

Washington is currently monitoring the operation, by giving a priority to the Geneva talks. Accordingly, the US decided to send acting assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, David Satterfield to the meeting on Syria.

Meanwhile, Ankara insists that the Kurdish Democratic Union not be invited to any peace talks, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced during a tripartite meeting with his Iranian and Russian counterparts, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Sergey Lavrov, in the resort city of Antalya to discuss the Syrian civil war.

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