The “Friends of Syria”, an alliance of mainly Western and Gulf Arab countries who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, on Sunday put pressure on the country’s split opposition groups to attend the January 22 peace talks in Switzerland.
“There will be no political solution for Syria unless ‘Geneva 2’ meets,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on behalf of the group.
The internationally sponsored meeting aims to bring Assad’s government and opposition groups to the negotiating table.
In a statement issued at the end of Sunday’s talks, the 11-nation Friends of Syria urged the opposition to respond positively to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s invitation to send a delegation to the talks in Montreux. The grouping of Western-backed rebels is deeply divided on whether to go and will announce a decision on January 17.
“We urge the National Coalition to respond positively to the invitation to set up the Syrian opposition delegation sent by the UN Secretary General,” the Friends said in a joint statement.
“We invite them to form, as soon as possible, a delegation of opposition forces to participate in the political process.”
Coalition President Ahmed al-Jarba, who attended the Paris meeting, did not say whether he believed the coalition would send a delegation, but said he was reassured that the 11 nations had agreed that there could be no transition if Assad remained in power.
“We are all in agreement to say that Assad has no future in Syria,” he said.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-01-12