Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Washington Attached to Political Transition in Syria

Washington Attached to Political Transition in Syria

Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 - 06:15
Syria, US Forces, file photo (AFP / Delil Souleiman)

Syria's main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) leader Nasr al-Hariri told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday that US National Security Advisor Lt Gen HR McMaster informed him about Washington’s commitment to achieve a “political transition” in Syria.

Hariri was speaking from London where he met with Christian Turner, UK Deputy National Security Adviser, Alistair Burt, Minister for the Middle East within Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Martin Longden, the UK’s Special Envoy to Syria.

An HNC delegation is currently on a tour to discuss the Syrian crisis. It will meet in Paris Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron and Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian before heading to Rome and Berlin.

In addition to its meetings with McMaster, the HNC delegation also held talks with Acting Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs David Satterfield and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during a visit to the US.

“We heard from the UN and the US their determination for a commitment to UNSCR 2254 and the achievement of a political transition,” Hariri said.

He also announced that the opposition already rejected “any measures that lead to the division of Syria.”

The head of the HNC also said that the committee wants to activate the Geneva talks. “We wanted to explain what happened during the eighth round of the Geneva talks and that the regime does not want negotiations… although the international community was serious to reach a political solution in Syria,” Hariri said.

The HNC tour coincided on Tuesday with a new strategy adopted by the administration of US President Donald Trump towards Syria and which includes securing a political and military presence east of the Euphrates River.

The new US policy on Syria has also a number of principles: to be politically involved with its regional and Syrian allies and to kick off talks with the Russians.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to deliver a speech on the US vision on Syria and on details about Washington’s talks with Moscow.

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