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Syrian Opposition Launches Roadmap to Democratic State | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The fourth meeting of the Friends of Syria group opened on 11 December 2012 in Marrakesh, Morocco. REUTERS / Stringer

London – In an attempt to end the crisis in Syria, the country’s opposition parties have agreed on a transitional roadmap that would set the basis for an interim government to be formed within a six-month period.

Officials from the United States, the European Union and regional powers gathered in London on Wednesday to discuss possible ways to end the five year-old deadly conflict in the Middle-Eastern country.

The “Friends of Syria” meeting saw the adoption of a road map for a transition to a democratic state without head of Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad.

The proposal was put forward by an umbrella group representing Syria’s different opposition factions. The plan was illustrated at the Institute for Strategic Studies by representatives of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), which is backed by Saudi Arabia.

The proposal also comes amid fragile efforts by the U.S. and Russia on a deal to reduce the fighting in Syria.

Foreign ministers from the Friends of Syria group were hosted by British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who pledged to intensify Britain’s efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.

The proposal calls for a six-month negotiation between the opposition and the government based on the Geneva Agreement that was forged in 2012. During this period, both parties pledged to abide by a temporary ceasefire, lift the blockade to allow the access of the Syrian population to humanitarian aid and release war prisoners.

The second phase starts with the formation of a transitional government and lasts for 18-month. The interim government will have full executive powers to write a new constitution. This phase should also see the departure of Assad and his close officials, according to the roadmap.

The third and final stage involves implementation of the constitution with local, legislative, and presidential elections.

“This is a vision for all the Syrians and for Syria,” Riyad Hijab, the coordinator of the HNC and former prime minister of Syria, told reporters while introducing the plan.

“We want to rid ourselves of extremism and terrorism. We want to move from the state of dictatorship, corruption, and a police state that destroyed the Syrian country and has caused a lot of problems for the region and threatens the security of the world,” Hijab said during a joint news conference with Johnson.

For his part, the newly appointed British premier welcomed the Syrian opposition’s vision towards a political solution in Syria. He also hoped that the roadmap would be seriously studied by the different factions, stressing that Assad should categorically abandon the Syrian political arena.

Hijab lauded British efforts to support the Syrian people on the political and humanitarian levels. He also said that Russia and all other foreign armed militias should leave Syria, noting that the ceasefire agreement has been violated “more than eight thousand times by the [Syrian] regime and Russia.”

Representatives of Syria’s government and opposition held talks in Geneva in late April. Those negotiations collapsed when the Syrian government and its Russian allies stepped up attacks on the rebel-held parts of the northern city of Aleppo.

In earlier remarks on Wednesday, Hijab said that Assad should not remain in office for more than six months during the political transition phase.

He added that the Syrian opposition would reject any Russian-U.S. plan that is not consistent with its vision.

The Friends of Syria gathers representatives from 11 western, Arab and regional countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, in addition to the European Union.