Riad Seif, head of the Syrian Coalition said that if the Americans are convinced of a political solution in Syria, convincing the Russians is possible. He noted that a political solution in Syria cannot be reached without a US-Russian agreement.
In an interview with the US newspaper Al-Monitor, Seif urged US administration to consider the Coalition as a partner whom they can trust as the Coalition is the only opposition body that has international recognition. “We need political, military and economic support from the United States,” he added.
Seif stressed the need to reactivate the Geneva track because the political solution is the only solution in Syria that ensures the preservation of the integrity of Syrian territory. He warned that the “four de-escalation zones are developing in a very dangerous way.”
Seif said the Coalition wants to work with the Trump administration on two common goals: fighting terrorism and “countering the Iranian influence in Syria and in the region while keeping the Russians from exerting more force and control in the region.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The opposition’s High Negotiations Committee announced that it was boycotting all conferences and meetings if they are held outside the UN umbrella, accusing Moscow of seeking to "rehabilitate" the regime of Bashar Assad. The HNC called for the United Nations to regain command of the peace process in Syria.
"Russia is undermining the United Nations as it is imposing its own rules on Syria," said the HNC a statement on Thursday. Around half a million people were killed in Syria in the seven-years-old war being launched by the Assad regime against the Syrian people.
The conference Moscow intends to organize on May 18 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi represents “departure from the United Nations-sponsored mediation efforts," the statement added.
The HNC renewed its rejection of discussing the future of Syria outside the legal international framework, reaffirming its commitment to a political solution in accordance with the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and international resolutions.
The Committee pointed out that the Sochi conference is part of Russia's efforts to monopolize efforts to political solution, adding that the Russian move risks undermining efforts of the international community to reach a political solution that guarantees the Syrian people’s rights to freedom and dignity.
The HNC and many opposition forces demanded that any conference remain within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 which called for local political transition in Syria. It stressed that the tragedy of the Syrian people cannot be solved by forming an expanded government under the authority of the Assad regime. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition and the Free Syrian Army’s General Staff said that Russia’s announcement that it was convening a conference in the city of Sochi represents a departure from the UN-sponsored Geneva negotiations and international resolutions on political transition in Syria.
In a press release issued on Friday, the Syrian Coalition stressed that calling this conference represents an attempt to depart from all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and violates the text spirit of the Geneva Communiqué of 2012.
The Coalition underscored that all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 clearly stated that a political solution should serve as the cornerstone of the formation of a Transitional Governing Body (TGB) with full executive powers and whose primary task is to create an appropriate and neutral environment for the success of the transitional phase. It added that TGB’s tasks also include convening a national dialogue conference, the holding of a referendum on the drafting of a constitution, and the holding of free and fair elections.
The Syrian Coalition and the FSA’s General Staff confirmed they would not participate in the Sochi Conference as they reiterated their support for the political transition process in Geneva aimed at achieving the aspirations of the Syrian people for freedom, dignity, and justice. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)