The Syrian Coalition said that the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) is the only party with a mandate to choose the negotiating delegation as was set out in the final communiqué of the Riyadh meeting held in December 2015, during which all Syrian political and revolutionary forces agreed upon giving the HNC this mandate.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Coalition stressed that it was “deeply concerned by Russia’s attempts to interfere in the issue of representation of the Syrian people in the upcoming peace negotiations.”
“The Syrian Coalition, as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, emphasizes the exclusive right of the Syrian opposition to choose its negotiating delegation represented by the High Negotiations Committee,” the Coalition said.
The Coalition said it is following up closely on efforts made to consolidate the countrywide ceasefire that was set out in the UN Security Council resolution 2254 (2015) and confirmed by the UN Security Council Resolution 2336 (2016) as well as preparations for the upcoming Astana meeting.
The Syrian Coalition stressed the need for full implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement as it condemned continued violations and war crimes by the Assad regime and the Iranian-backed militias, especially in the Wadi Barada valley.
“The UN Security Council and guarantors of the ceasefire agreement are obliged to immediately stop and condemn these violations and to punish the perpetrators.”
The Coalition urged the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign militias from Syria and to require all parties to stop supporting or providing political and legal cover for the actions of these militias.
The Coalition emphasized the need to uphold provisions of the UN Security Council resolution 2336 (2016) which called for launching a political process in Syria that is based on the Geneva Communique of 2012 as well as UNSC resolutions 2118 (2013), 2254 (2015) and 2268 (2016).
“Preparations for the upcoming meeting in Astana should include full implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions on Syria and build on what had been reached in the Geneva negotiations of 2014 and 2016,” the Coalition said.
Moreover, the Coalition stressed the need for the creation of the necessary conditions for the success of negotiations, including a complete halt to hostilities, the lifting of the sieges, the delivery of aid to those in need, the release of prisoners, and revealing the fate of those missing. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)