The Second Syrian Opposition Expanded Meeting concluded its proceedings in Saudi Arabia on Friday by demanding that any meetings on the settlement to the Syrian crisis be supervised by the United Nations.
Chief negotiator Hani al-Bahra told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that the closing statement of the opposition meeting will act as the sole authority for negotiations with the Syrian regime delegation at the Geneva talks.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir meanwhile tweeted of the “major accomplishment” that the Syrian opposition figures achieved at the Riyadh meeting.
He said on the Foreign Ministry’s official Twitter account that they managed to unify their ranks and create a united negotiations team.
The team represents each platform of the Syrian opposition and consists of six independent women, ten members of the Syrian National Coalition, ten members of the military factions, six from the National Coordination Committee, four from each of the Cairo and Moscow Platforms and two clan representatives.
Bahra explained that the current team now represents all members of the Syrian opposition, noting that women have taken their fair share of the authority, “which is what distinguishes it.”
On early Saturday morning, head of the negotiations authority to Geneva Nasr al-Hariri declared that the opposition ranks have been unified and it can now kick off direct dialogue with the Syrian regime in order move on to the political phase.
He stressed that the opposition is committed to the principles of the Syrian revolt and it is serious in its mission to establish a transition authority that excludes regime head Bashar Assad. The UN must also oversee any meetings aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis.
He revealed that UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura had invited the opposition “to sit at a unified table in order to launch the Syrian process on solid ground and push the negotiations forward.”
The achievement at this week’s Riyadh meeting is an important step that should make the international community realize that there can be no excuse that prevents the regime from facing the opposition directly at the negotiations table to achieve the political transition, added Hariri.
The closing statement of the Riyadh meeting represents the voice of the Syrian people, who are seeking justice and dignity, he continued, while confirming that the opposition will attend the Geneva conference scheduled for December 8.
Jamal Suleiman, of the Cairo Platform, thanked the Saudi government and people and al-Jubeir for their efforts in making the Riyadh meeting a success.
“The Riyadh meeting is an important step towards launching direct negotiations,” he stressed.