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Nasr al-Hariri: Intra-Syrian Negotiations Could Last 20 Years | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syria’s main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) leader Nasr al-Hariri arrives for a meeting with United Nations Syria envoy on the first day of a new round of Syria peace talks on February 23, 2017 in Geneva.
UN-brokered Syrian peace talks resume in Geneva, but hopes of a breakthrough are dim, clouded by persistent violence and deadlock over the country’s political future. / AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

Geneva – Head of the Syrian opposition delegation to Geneva Nasr al-Hariri called on the international community to exert more efforts on the Syrian Regime to convince it to discuss all issues submitted for negotiations, adding that should such efforts fail, the intra-Syrian talks could last for 20 years.

In an interview with Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in Geneva, Hariri criticized what he described as Russia’s “duplicate” role in Syria.

In this regard, he noted that statements made by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in Geneva came in contradiction with continuous attacks by Russian aircrafts against Syrian cities.

“There is a blatant contradiction between actual field developments and the course of negotiations,” the lead opposition negotiator said.

He stated that while the Russians “promote themselves as the guarantor of the success of the ceasefire”, Russian officers were behind several shelling operations in the region of Idlib.

“Parts of the attacks against our regions are perpetrated by the regime, and the others are launched by the Russians,” Hariri said.

Asked about the outcome of his meeting with Gatilov in Geneva, the Syrian opposition official said that the Higher Negotiations Committee (HNC) has stressed its adherence to the implementation of all relevant Security Council resolutions and the 2012 Geneva Declaration.

Hariri said he informed the Russian diplomat that achieving a political transition was the key to any solution to the Syrian crisis.

“We have a clear stance that neither Bashar al-Assad nor any of his regime members would have a role in the transitional period and the future of Syria,” he stated.

Hariri said he was confident that UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura was the right person to fulfil the mission assigned to him.

“However, the absence of a true international will to reach a solution and the international community’s failure to set a mechanism that would force the parties to abide by a [peace] roadmap, would make de Mistura a hostage of both Syrian sides,” he added.

Asked about the US role in the Syrian file, the opposition negotiator said: “We are paying an exorbitant price for the catastrophic mistakes of [former US President Barack] Obama’s policy in Syria.”

He added that while the new US Administration was yet to present its vision on resolving the Syrian crisis, it should deploy more efforts to stop Iran from spreading its influence in the Arab country.