Secretary General of the Syrian National Coalition, Badr al-Din Jamous, stated that ” we reject Russia’s statements as well as the international insistence on holding Geneva II despite the absence of the requirements for its success, as was admitted by the Russians, which is aimed at discharging the responsibility of the international community as a whole and transferring it to anyone who refuses to go to Geneva II.” Jamous’ statement came in response to remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said that “both the regime and the National Coalition should not miss the opportunity to meet in Moscow regardless of the possibility of lack of success.” Jamous’ statement was also a response to Lavrov’s remarks regarding the Syrian National Coalition’s demand that Assad must step down as a condition to going to Geneva II which Lavrov described as “unrealistic.” Jamous added that “the requirements for the success of Geneva II are not there, and the regime is not willing to meet them because it has not yet recognized Geneva I.” Furthermore, Jamous stressed that “first we must lay a foundation for Geneva II because it is very unlikely to succeed if the requirements for success have not been met.” This comes after a Russian invitation for the Syrian Coalition to visit Moscow. Michael Bogdanov, the Russian President’s special envoy, hailed the Syrian Coalition’s decision to go to Geneva II, saying that the Coalition’s participation would be a “positive” for the Geneva based peace conference for Syria.
The National Coalition confirmed that it will participate in Geneva II, provided that it will result in Assad’s step down and the formation of a transitional government with full powers, in addition to the opening of humanitarian corridors and the release of all detainees along with the presence of a specific timetable for all stages of negotiation. Likewise, the Coalition considered the Russian Foreign Ministry’s claims that the opposition is blocking access to a political solution, and aborting preparations for an international Geneva II conference, as nothing more than failed attempts aimed at “strengthening the position of the Assad regime.” Furthermore, the Coalition said in response to a statement by Russia’s Foreign Minister accusing Syrian revolutionaries of shelling various neighborhoods of Damascus, especially those inhabited by Christians, “that acts and violations of the principles of the revolution such as the shelling of residential neighborhoods in Damascus are committed only by al-Assad’s militia.” Also, the Syrian Coalition stressed that “Assad’s regime continues to fire mortar rounds on Damascus’ densely populated neighborhoods daily, targeting schools, markets and places of worship, then blames it on the revolutionaries and employs propaganda in order to earn a few more days of ruling the country.” The Coalition also called for monitoring “repeated statements by the FSA in Damascus and its countryside, which deny responsibility for the bombing of Damascus’ populated neighborhoods and those under the control of the regime because the principles of the revolution do not allow for making military gains at the expense of human lives;” a strategy which, according to a Coalition statement, has been consistently used by the regime to suppress the popular revolution since its early days. (Source: Syrian Coalition)