Syria Opposition Chief Says Ready for Talks with Regimeإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Syria's opposition chief Moaz al-Khatib said on Wednesday he is ready for dialogue with officials of President Bashar Assad's regime, subject to conditions including that detainees are released.
"I announce I am ready for direct discussions with representatives of the Syrian regime in Cairo, Tunis or Istanbul," Khatib said via his Facebook page, citing as another condition that passports for exiled citizens be renewed.
"I became aware thanks to the media that the regime in Syria has called on the opposition to enter into dialogue," said Khatib, who heads the main opposition Syrian National Coalition.
"While it is not right for anyone to bargain with the freedom for which our people have paid so dearly in blood, I say there are basic conditions before I sit down with representatives of the regime," he said.
Khatib described his proposal as "a goodwill initiative to seek a political solution to the crisis, to prepare for a transitional phase that prevents any more bloodshed."
But he added that "we cannot trust a regime that kills children, attacks bakeries bombards universities, destroys Syria's infrastructure and massacres innocent people."
Assad proposed earlier this month a national dialogue to end Syria's crisis, but he made it clear this would only apply to groups not linked to the armed insurgency, effectively shutting out the National Coalition.
Khatib said the unprecedented statement expressed his own opinion only and that his group would meet on Thursday to discuss the proposal.
An influential opposition group, the Syrian National Council (SNC) -- a key component of the Coalition -- swiftly rejected the proposal.
"The Syrian people have -- and are still paying -- an extremely high price for their full freedom and to get rid of every last remnant of this oppressive, tyrannical regime," said the SNC, adding that it "rejects any settlement or negotiation with the Syrian regime."
The Coalition had earlier Wednesday lashed out at the "global inaction" which it said was giving Assad's regime a license to kill, accusing Assad's forces of being behind the killings of at least 78 people whose bodies were Tuesday in a river in northern Syria's Aleppo.
The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria's 22-month conflict.