Former Assad regime Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, who defected to the opposition in 2012, has been elected to lead the Syrian opposition delegation in talks with the regime on Dec.17. The Syrian opposition’s Supreme Negotiations Committee voted for Hijab to take on the role in a meeting in Riyadh. The former Syrian PM received 24 out of 34 votes to assume the position of chief coordinator for the opposition team, which will enter into direct talks with the Assad regime early next year.
His appointment to lead the opposition negotiation team comes a day before US Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a meeting of the 18-country International Syria Support Group in New York. The meeting aimed at discussing the Syrian crisis and the steps that should be taken in the political transition process.
However, the International Security Council is expected to issue a resolution confirming the results of the talks and the steps that will be taken to start the negotiations between the opposition representatives and the regime, forming a transition government and a road map to develop a new constitution and hold elections, in addition to fight the terrorist organizations, notably ISIS.
The first meeting witnessed amendments for some of the articles in the document produced from Riyadh Conference. Nevertheless, the formation of the opposition delegation, which will face the regime delegation inthe upcoming negotiations is expected to be complete in today’s meeting.
In the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Moscow was cooperating with the US to solve the Syrian crisis, and that there was a near complete consensus between the two countries as they agreed on working together to draft the constitution, form mechanisms to monitor the immediate future elections, and to recognize the results.
Putin emphasized on the importance of providing concessions to the Syrian parties to reach compromises.