OPPOSITION TOUGHEN STAND AT ‘FRIENDS OF SYRIA’ MEET IN LONDON
The London talks seek to bring opposition leaders to the negotiating table in Geneva
LONDON, October 22 — Syria’s opposition groups have toughened their stance insisting that the embattled President Bashar Al Assad must go before proposed talks to end the ongoing civil warare held in Geneva in the next phase.
“We cannot be part of those responsible for shedding the blood of our people,” Syria opposition chief Ahmad Jarba said at a news conference on Tuesday following talks in London.
Talking tough, Jarbavowed that opposition leaders be considered traitors if they agreed to the Geneva conference without first securing the needed “foundations” — necessary preconditions in light of what he called prior “failures” by the international community to end the escalating conflict.
“If we say yes to Geneva 2 conference, people will cry out for the downfall of the conference,” he said. “Our
the Geneva conference.
Hague stressed that efforts were being made to bring all sides to a negotiating table in Geneva but stopped short of saying Syria’s opposition had agreed to attend the talks.
He said the London meeting was aimed at persuading Syria’s opposition to have a “united position” for the conference scheduled for November 23 and said they had agreed on a number of steps.
US Secretary John Kerry echoed Hague’s words while stressing that the Syrian war will not be won on the battlefield but at the negotiating table.
“I don’t know anybody including the Russians and others in the region who believe there is a military solution to this conflict. It is clear both sides will continue to fight, and to fight, and to fight,” he said.
Tuesday’s talks were attended by the so-called London 11, the core group of the Friends of Syria that consists of Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States, together with opposition leaders.–Agencies