Head of the Syrian Coalition’s media department Ahmed Ramadan said that “the political transition will be the main focus of the Geneva 4 talks,” noting that others topics for discussions will include a new system of rule, constitutional mechanisms, and the nature of a new elections-based political system.
“The opposition delegation will focus on the formation of a transitional governing body,” Ramadan said. He pointed out that delegation will present “a comprehensive plan including operational mechanisms that are based on international resolutions.”
A top adviser to the UN envoy for Syria said Tuesday that their “main guidance” for the agenda for the negotiations will the wide scope of Security Council resolutions, in particular UN Security Council resolution 2254, which call for a political transition in Syria. Last week, the United Nations appeared to back away from using the phrase “political transition.”
UN envoy Staffan de Mistura is putting the “finishing touches on arrangements” for Thursday’s start of talks in Geneva between the government and the opposition, his chief of staff, Michael Contet, told reporters.
Contet noted that Security Council resolution 2254 asks the envoy to convene “formal negotiations on the political transition process.” The new talks will revolve around three issues: “Credible, inclusive and nonsectarian governance, a new constitution, and free and fair elections.”
Contet’s comments in Geneva came as some 40 human rights groups and other organizations said that the talks should prioritize human rights issues.
The groups, which include Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Physicians for Human Rights, say the priorities are “to end unlawful attacks and to ensure aid access and safe passage for fleeing civilians, detainee rights, justice, and security sector reform.”
“One of the main goals of the Geneva talks should be putting an end to the violations against Syrians who have faced bombing, chemical attacks, starvation, illegal detention, and more horrors,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “To be meaningful, any peace plan should bolster a cease-fire agreement with the respect for human rights.”
President of the Syrian Coalition Anas Abdah reiterated that political transition in Syria should be at the core of the upcoming round of Geneva talks scheduled for next week.
Abdah’s remarks came during bilateral meetings with European and UN officials on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference last week.
In a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Abdah stressed that the Syrian opposition wants to engage in political negotiations that lead to a genuine political transition. He pointed out that the Assad regime and its allies are seeking to undermine the Geneva talks and render them irrelevant through their continued beaches of the truce and the escalation of bombardment on the rebel-held areas. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + AFP)