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Monday, 01 February 2016 14:58

Saudi Arabia to Continue Support for Syrian Rebels if Geneva Talks Failed

Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country would continue to support the Syrian rebels if the Geneva negotiations failed to bring about a solution to the conflict, reaffirming Saudi Arabia’s support for the Syrian opposition’s decision to take part in the Geneva III talks.

At a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Riyadh yesterday, Jubeir said the talks should focus on a transfer of power away from Bashar Assad, a new constitution and new elections, and a new Syria in which Assad has no role to play. “That’s what the Syrian opposition went to negotiate.” He added: “We support them if they choose not to negotiate. We support them if they choose to negotiate.”

“We share the same position which consists of supporting our Syrian brothers directly or when they take part in international meetings,” Jubeir added.

Turkey's top diplomat echoed Mr. Jubeir saying that the Syrian opposition was free to leave peace talks in Geneva if its demands were not met.

"We asked the opposition that they can put their conditions to start the negotiations and continue the negotiations. They can leave anytime if they are not implemented," Çavuşoğlu was said.

The Syrian opposition’s High Negotiation Committee (HNC) announced late Friday that it would join the Geneva talks after receiving “UN assurances.” The HNC added it would "take part in the political process to test the seriousness of the other side through discussions with the UN team.”

In a statement released on Friday, the HNC stressed that its decision to take part in the Geneva talks “was designed to help implement international commitments and meet humanitarian demands as a prelude to the negotiating process as well as to bring about a transitional process through the formation of a transitional governing body with full executive powers.” (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)