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Hijab Raises the Bar on Opposition’s Demands | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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HNC delegation leader, Riyadh Hijab, after announcing suspension of negotiations Geneva, E.P.A

Geneva- International calls were hastily made in efforts to save the indirect Syrian Geneva peace talks from looming failure, after the Syrian Opposition High Negotiation Committee (HNC) delegation, two days ago, announced its withdrawal from participation.

The HNC leader raised the bar on the Opposition’s demands, considering the negotiations technically concluded.

HNC leader Riyad Hijab, in a press conference held yesterday at the InterContinental hotel located near the Palace of Nations, told Asharq Al-Awsat that he and the rest of the delegation will be leaving Switzerland, given that there only remain few members assigned to discuss technical details.

Sources close to U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura revealed that he has left Geneva for Italy, refusing to explain the reasons behind the trip to Italy and making no announcement concerning the date of his return.

Looking into the devastating field state-of-affairs on ceasefire, the international committee responsible for following up cessation of hostilities in Syria convened in a long session at the Palace of Nations, yesterday afternoon. The panel evaluated the situation based on de Mistura’s request, and was co-headed by U.S. and Russian representatives.

Hijab took advantage of the wide range, Arab and international, media coverage to justify the HNC’s decision on suspending contribution at the negotiations and to send out a message to the Syrian interior , truce sponsors “Washington” and “Moscow”, Friends of Syria Group, the U.N. Security Council and the League of Arab States.

Hijab’s speech starred a distinguished high-tone, in which he emphasized that the opposition’s delegation had come to Geneva to achieve political transition and form a panel which would supervise the process, and not to waste time.

According to Hijab, the opposition’s delegation will not participate in the continuous concealment of the murdering of Syrians, hidden behind a bogus truce, which he considered “over”. He finally said that the opposition will not resume its participation unless all requests are met.

Western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, that the HNC decisions were based on precise calculations, knowing that the future of any political solution would not be accomplished if the opposition was overlooked.

If the international community, Russia and the U.S. namely, is truly bent on arriving to a settlement in Syria, it should listen and respond to the HNC’s demands, sources added.

The opposition’s committee is fully aware that with it withholding its participation, no negotiations could be conducted, sources said.

The HNC has every right to push forward with its demands, it could not possibly stand still against escalations taking place on the field, the absence of humanitarian aid from areas in dire need and those held captive and reported missing, sources clarified.