President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Alabdah said he wants to see Germany join Russia and the US as the third key international actor negotiating over the country’s future.
In an interview with Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Alabdah said that in the discussions “we have two people, an American and a Russian and I think that until we have more than the two we will not be able to progress.”
“There are three countries that can play a significant role, the U.K., France and Germany and of the three I think … Germany [is] a good candidate to play that role on behalf of the [European Union],” Alabdah added.
“They have good relations with the Russians… and the Americans. And they were kind to host a percentage of our refugees. They have the moral authority to get involved and help move this process forward,” Alabdah said.
Alabdah was in Brussels meeting EU officials, including EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, who said they discussed preparation for the next session of talks in Geneva, beginning about a political transition in Damascus, continued humanitarian support, and the fight against ISIS.
The inclusion of Germany may enable broader international involvement in the talks. “Why can’t we have a P5+1 for Syria? It worked in the case of Iran, why can’t it work in Syria as well?” Alabdah added.
But he said he wouldn’t welcome all international intervention, especially with regard to drafting a new constitution for Syria. “We will accept all the advice given to us by the international community and by our friends, but this social contract should be written by the Syrian people and should go through the proper procedures in to be representative, legal, and genuine in order to command the respect of the Syrian people.”
U.S. officials have consistently denied Washington’s involvement in any discussion over Syria’s future constitution in their discussions with Alabdah, he said, adding he trusts their word.
Although hopeful for direct negotiations to begin, he described indirect talks, in which the parties do not talk face-to-face, as “wasting time.” Alabdah said he viewed with optimism the proposed August 1 start date for transition. (Source: Syrian Coalition)