The Syrian opposition yesterday expressed optimism about the future of the current negotiations that are being held under international auspices to resolve the crisis that has crippled the country for the last five years. The optimism came after the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura presented a document comprising of 12 items that establish basic principles for a solution and “a transition process”. The document was handed over to the delegations of both the regime and the opposition, and the UN envoy said that “no one objected”.
The document’s summary includes items on the reform of state institutions in accordance with international standards, the rejection of terrorism and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 which guarantees a political transition with full power. The document, which de Mistura said will be the nucleus of the Syrian Constitution, also stipulated the restructuring of the Syrian army along national lines, an assurance that a non-sectarian and democratic state would be established and the protection of women’s rights. De Mistura announced yesterday that he will call for a new round of negotiations to be held on the 9th of April despite the fact that the Syrian regime’s delegation announced earlier that it will not participate in any meetings before the parliamentary elections which it wants to hold on the 13th of April.
The Syrian opposition said that it believes that the foundations for the essential peace talks have now been laid. After the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) concluded its talks with the UN envoy, Basma Qadmani, a member of the opposition’s delegation said that “having come to the end of these two weeks, we feel that it is likely that we have laid the foundation for essential negotiations in the coming round”.
Abdel Basset Sida, a leader of the Syrian opposition, said the fact that the regime is sitting at the negotiation table for a political transition “confirms that there is a desire to put the political solution train in motion as there is a common framework and general points that can represent essential matters on the agenda of the forthcoming negotiation sessions”. Sida told Asharq Al-Awsat that it is “too early to judge the outcome of negotiations”, and pointed out that “these agreements and general principles that will form the focus of the negotiations are still vague”.