Assad’s proposal to form a unity government including independent and opposition figures will not solve Syria’s conflict, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Thursday.
Hammond was responding to comments Assad made in an interview published this week, when he said a national unity government should be agreed at peace talks in Geneva. This government could then draw up a new constitution, leading to elections.
“Bashar al-Assad talks about a unity government, by which he means bringing one or two handpicked, regime-friendly oppositionists into minor posts in the government,” he told a news conference in Beirut. “That is not sufficient.”
Britain and other world powers which form the International Syria Support Group believed that a political settlement in Syria needed a transitional government instead, Hammond said.
“There has to be the creation of a government that represents all the people, all the communities, all the faiths in Syria and it has to be a government that is not – or at least in the future will not – be led by Bashar al-Assad,” Hammond added.
The Syrian Coalition on Thursday said that a permanent political solution for Syria must begin with forming a transitional governing body with full executive powers. This move would provide a suitable environment for drafting a new constitution and holding legislative and presidential elections to allow Syrians to freely participate in the making of their country’s future, the Coalition added.
The Coalition’s remarks were made during a meeting held on Thursday between the political committee and Coalition’s members in the High Negotiations Committee (HNC). The meeting discussed the second round of negotiations held in Geneva in mid-March under the auspices of the United Nations. The meeting also drew up an action plan to serve as a point of reference for the Coalition’s delegation during the upcoming rounds of negotiations.
Members of the negotiating delegation who took part in the meeting reaffirmed commitment to the principles of the revolution and the fundamental guidelines set out by the Coalition for the negotiating process. These guidelines emphasize the need to end the reign of al-Assad and his clique and transition the country to a pluralistic democratic rule in which all Syrians have equal rights regardless of ethnicity, religion or sect. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Agencies)