President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Alabdah accused Russia of seeking to defeat the Syrian revolution and impose a political solution exclusively favorable to Bashar al-Assad.
“The Assad regime’s lack of seriousness during the latest round of Geneva negotiations has proved that Russia, as a sponsor of the political process in Syria along with the United States, did not fulfill its role in putting pressure on the Assad regime to negotiate in good faith,” Alabdah said.
Alabdah pointed out that “the Russians repeat, publicly and in closed meetings, that they can apply only limited pressure on the Assad regime. They are either avoiding to raise high expectations or they do not have the will to find a political transition.”
“Russia’s vision for a solution in Syria includes the establishment of a so-called national unity government with the aim to preserve the current regime and allow Assad to re-run for presidential elections. This vision does not even meet the minimum requirement for the political process.”
Alabdah described calls by Russia to designate Ahrar Alsham and Jaish Alislam rebel groups as terrorist groups as a desperate attempt to weaken the revolution.
“The position of the Syrian opposition and the Friends of Syria Group on these two groups is clear. Ahrar Alsham and Jaish Alislam are part of the mainstream armed opposition. There cannot be any talk about a political solution without them,” Alabdah said.
With regard to the negotiation process between the opposition and the Assad regime, Alabdah said: “The Assad regime has not yet to offer any proposal for a political solution as the UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura has not yet informed us about the details of any such proposal. The Syrian opposition is currently considering providing a detailed vision for the transitional period. This vision will be submitted to the UN envoy after it has been approved by the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC).”
Alabdah stressed that the opposition is ready to take part in a new round of negotiations “once we feel the international community is serious about making the negotiation process a success.” He added that there are plans to hold “technical talks” in Geneva but that the Assad regime tried to avoid them because it did not want to go into the details of a political solution.
Alabdah called on the international community to name names when it comes to those trying to disrupt the political process.
Alabdah ruled out possibility of expanding the opposition’s HNC for the time being, but said that the opposition’s negotiating delegation can be expanded by incorporating new opposition groups provided that they agree on the final statement of the Riyadh conference out of which the HNC emerged.
Regarding the delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged areas, Alabdah said that the United Nations is waiting for the Assad regime’s approval to launch airdrops of humanitarian aid to those areas. “But if the regime was going to approve this step, it would have allowed ground transport of aid in the first place.” He also said that the “technical obstacles the United Nations says it is facing in this regard can be easily overcome.”
“The United Nations estimates that there are about 700,000 Syrians trapped in 28 besieged areas; however, estimates by the Syrian Coalition indicate that there are nearly a million people in urgent need for relief aid.” Alabdah added.
He stressed that the humanitarian issues are not subject to negotiations. “When we see improvement in this regard, we can talk about a political solution.”
President Alabdah concluded his remarks by saying that they have contacted the US following reports about a US-Russian agreement to draft a new constitution for Syria. He made it clear that US officials have denied the existence of such an agreement, stressing that the constitution “is a social contract that can only be written according to clear mechanisms determined by the Syrian people.” (Source: Anadolu Agency)