Jarba Says 'Friends of Syria' Agree No Role for Assad and Family in Country Future

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  • W460
  • W460
  • W460

Ahmad Jarba, the leader of Syria's opposition National Coalition, said Sunday that the U.S.-led "Friends of Syria" grouping had agreed that President Bashar Assad and his family will have no role in the country's future.

Jarba did not announce whether or not the opposition would take part in peace talks with representatives of Assad's regime due to start next week in Switzerland.

The Coalition, which is under intense pressure to confirm its participation, has said it will decide on the issue on January 17.

“We stressed the need for offering quick support to the Free Syrian Army,” said Jarba after talks with the Friends of Syria group in Paris.

“We all agree that neither Assad nor his family can have a role in Syria's future,” he added, noting that “there is undisputable consensus on the issue of ceding power."

"We have entered the decisive period, which we know how difficult it will be, and we thank all friends," Jarba went on to say.

For his part, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the so-called Geneva 2 conference must lead to the formation of a "transitional government with full executive powers in Syria."

"The Syrian tragedy can only end through a political solution and it is important to hold Geneva 2 for this purpose," he added.

Fabius accused the Syrian regime of being the party that is "fuelling terrorism."

"If we want to eradicate terror, the regime must leave," he added.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: "We emphasized over and over to the opposition representatives that not taking part in the talks would lead to a failure of the discussions or would prevent them from taking place."

"I hope we convinced them," he added.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry joined ministers from 10 other countries at the Paris meeting, which was aimed at persuading the opposition National Coalition to attend a first round of talks scheduled for Montreux, Switzerland on January 22.

The Swiss talks have been organized in an attempt to revive a long-stalled framework for peace involving a cessation of hostilities and the creation of a national transitional government that could involve figures from the current regime and the opposition.

But opposition leaders are wary of being drawn into a process they fear could result in Assad clinging on to power and have yet to give a commitment to attending.

In a statement issued at the end of Sunday's talks, the 11-nation Friends of Syria urged the opposition to respond positively to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's invitation to send a delegation to the Montreux talks.

"We invite them to form... a delegation of opposition forces to participate in the political process," the statement said, adding: "We pledge our full backing to the opposition during the Geneva II Conference."

The Friends of Syria groups Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.

For its part, Damascus has insisted that Assad would lead any transition agreed at the Geneva talks.

"If anyone thinks we are going to Geneva 2 to hand the keys to Damascus over, they might as well not go," Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi said in December.

The Geneva communique reached in June 2012 envisaged a transition for Syria, but did not specify whether Assad should leave.

Jarba has called for Assad to stop using heavy weapons, lift sieges on a number of opposition-held areas and allow the opening of humanitarian corridors as a show of good faith ahead of any talks.

There has been no sign of progress on those issues but U.S. officials have expressed confidence that, with little prospect of securing a military victory after nearly three years of fighting, the opposition will come to Montreux.

"I think in the final analysis they won't want to miss that opportunity, because frankly there's no other game, really," a U.S. diplomat told reporters.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was in the opposition's interests to attend the talks and try to end a conflict that has caused 130,000 deaths and created more than two million refugees.

"In the end, there's got to be a political solution in Syria," Hague told Sky News from Paris. "This is going to put the Assad regime on the spot if everybody turns up at those peace talks."

The balance of power in the conflict in Syria appears to have tipped in Assad's favor over the last week as deadly clashes have erupted between the mainstream opposition and an al-Qaida-linked group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with which they were previously allied.

According to NGOs monitoring the conflict, at least 700 people have been killed since the fighting started January 3 and the ISIL is threatening to abandon frontline positions in the area around Syria's second city, Aleppo.

The fighting has exacerbated concern in western capitals over the strength of radical Islamist groups within the broad alliance of forces fighting Assad.

Hopes of progress towards peace in Syria rose last year when Assad agreed to give up the regime's chemical weapons after the West pulled back from the brink of threatened military intervention.

Opposition leaders fear that deal, which involved Syria's ally Russia becoming a pivotal player in the efforts to end the conflict, has diluted the West's determination to see Assad removed from power.

Among the other issues that were discussed on Sunday was whether Iran, an important backer of Assad, will have any role in peace talks further down the line.

Russia has been lobbying for Tehran to be brought into the process and the issue is likely to dominate discussions on Monday between Kerry, his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov and Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League special envoy to Syria.

Comments 25
Thumb primesuspect 12 January 2014, 18:02

Can't wait 2 visit lebanon and syria in post assad times. Feel the freedom, walk fearless of having my rental car jacked by shia from Hermel. Fear Syrian mukhabarat listening 2 my conversation in streets, have hizballa drug dealers driving like mad men and endangering pedestrians and other drivers among many other things.

Missing watan-libnan 12 January 2014, 18:12

That sounded like a great visit, you couldn't say it was boring though could you?

Thumb primesuspect 12 January 2014, 18:23

That's the visit of my dreams. I forgot to mention many other things such as have no hizballa armed kids screen my vehicle. Seeing no terroristas portraits on the airport highway.

Thumb _mowaten_ 12 January 2014, 20:10

blabla.. stay where you are if you dont like it here.
we dont need any more of your kind of sectarian haters

Missing beirutbastard00 13 January 2014, 04:06

What part of Lebanon do u visit? :/

Thumb cityboy 12 January 2014, 18:19

lol, how did you manage to distinguish the drug dealer drivers from the rest of the drivers in Lebanon. haha, by that reasoning, there are then over 2million drug dealers on Lebanon's roads.

Missing lebanon4ever 12 January 2014, 20:00

Lol @ the_roars comment.

Thumb _mowaten_ 12 January 2014, 20:09

they "agreed" between themselves, lol... let them implement their decisions around their headquarters, in istanbul... :)

Thumb -phoenix1 12 January 2014, 21:36

(1). Anyone who wants to see real peace return back to Syria simply cannot rule out Bachar Al Assad from the equation. First let me reiterate that Bachar is certainly NO friend of mine, but if the friends of Syria want peace for Syria, then they need to look at the stark oicture on the ground. I was one who vehemently wished to see the back of the regime, but in view of what could be the alternative to him, would it be the wisiest course to take? Then on the ground, is the regime effasive or anywhere near it? The regime is now gaining ground, more regularly than before, can the friends of Syria ignore all that?

Missing lebcan 12 January 2014, 22:28

He drops barrels of TNT on people ... the Terrorist ISIL, kills a few people a day and the Butcher Mass murder TERRORIST Assad's TNT kills a 100 in one shot/day ....AND he doesn't kill FSA or even Al-Qaida ... he Kills Civilians ... mostly!!!.

The Vast majority of the 100000+ dead Civilians are on his Hands... Just like his dad's hands back in 1982 in Hamah... May He rot in Hell!!!
Come Hell or High Water will that butcher and his sidekicks have a say in the future!!!
the following are fooling them selves if they think they can stop this Politicly!!! Unless Basher is Out!
and Zion can force the SNC to attend ... Syrians are Not Going to Give a S... till that Butcher is DOWN!

Missing bigjohn 13 January 2014, 02:51

"The Vast majority of the 100000+ dead Civilians are on his Hands"

Even the opposition media: the observatory for human rights said that 70% of the persons killed are fighters from both sides and the opposition killed more persons than the regime. Your lies are worthless.

Missing lebcan 13 January 2014, 05:39

Are you kidding me!
who has massed killed before... Assad!
who flies jets over towns and cities and drops bomb Every Every day! with hundreds dead
Your Lies are worthless!!

Missing peace 12 January 2014, 21:39

"Israeli and western invasions, aggressions, colonization, and occupation are not "fueling terrorism"????"

sure , that is why we have the hezbi terrorists in lebanon :)

Missing peace 12 January 2014, 21:40

so you are siding with the master of terrorism called bashar?

Missing peace 13 January 2014, 12:02

funny how M8ers dream of seeing those opposing them side with takfiris... it seems to be their fantasy to justify their own adventure beside bashar the butcher...

so repeat all you want that i am siding with takfiris, if it makes you sleep better... my conscience is clear if yours is not...

Thumb -phoenix1 12 January 2014, 21:40

(2). Then the friends of Syria (FOS) need to understand that we Arabs are and remain tribal for all intents and purposes, we still regard one figurehead as our choice th represent us, could anyone here deny this? So in Syria's case, not one Aalawite has come forward yet claiming that they want Bachar out. The choices and options for Syrians are not the sweetest, they have no alternative but to accept to make compromises and understand that their failure to accomodate each other, especially given the positions on the ground, the alternative would spell absolute catastrophe for them all.

Missing beirutbastard00 13 January 2014, 04:25

Hence y the Sunni majority wants to pick their own leader. The alawite figurehead doesn't represent the country. Without the mokhabarat, what were the chances of a alawite being voted in as president? Let's be real, it's like u said, here in the Middle East we want to be lead by our 'own',

But I would also like to add something... If bashar ran for office now he might win, just like the Muslim brotherhood did in Egypt. Not out of popularity, but an utter lack of organized competition.

Thumb -phoenix1 12 January 2014, 21:46

(3). Syria is just too big, way too big, the repercussions of its war are beyond our worst fears, not on us Lebanese only but the whole region if not well beyond into Europe. At this time I cannot mention all the elements of the repercussions of a continuation of the Syrian conflict, but anyone who dares gauge it now will see the cataclysm that this will bring around, starting for the Syrians themselves to the whole world. Every responsible power, be it regional of other must now work to bring all the Syrians to the same table, to talk, compromise, accomodate and accept that they all have a role to reverse their utter madness and together accept that none can now remove the other. Lebanon was such an exmaple before, let the world learn, for the good of all.

Thumb -phoenix1 12 January 2014, 22:14

The Syrian opposition has accused the regime of being corrupt, result, they've been proven that they are as corrupt if not worse, keeping the war going on for their own selfish ends. They accused the regime of dividing the nation, they the oppition are the furthest from unity, their divisions have been chronic from day one. They've accused the regime of being repressive, now we've seen what they too can do in as far as repression is concerned. Now they want the regime out and without Bachar? let the Syrian unite as not one of them all, regime or opposition is now capable to provide answers on their own.

Missing lebcan 12 January 2014, 22:32

Do not mix those low life ISIL with the rest of the true resistance of Tyranny!!!

Missing lebcan 12 January 2014, 22:39

Acknowledge the fact that Bashar is under one banner of Tyranny!!!
Acknowledge that fact that the Opposition Are good People AND Some Groups of them are terrorists and some like the SNC are corrupted hence the infighting between them... which is good! WHY? because like a Body fighting a virus... or Fresh water cannot mix with Salt Water.... That is the Opposition now.

If the Opposition manages to Cleans its self from the Dirt ISIL and the likes... then maybe the syrian people will have hope and prosperity ?.....

Missing beirutbastard00 13 January 2014, 04:32

The opposition fighters are groups of men united only in their willingness to die fighting bashar. They have no experience in diplomacy. They haven't had 40yrs to reform. They are not educated in media relations, or in anything else for that matter. They are paid to only fight. Of course they are corrupt. That doesn't negate anything this Ba'ath regime has done.

Missing lebcan 12 January 2014, 22:16

Both of them...!

Missing beirutbastard00 13 January 2014, 04:12

Did u support the toppling of Mubarak? HA and Iran made it a different situation.

Missing beirutbastard00 13 January 2014, 04:35

Made Syria a dif situation.