Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Arab foreign ministers call on Syrian opposition to attend Geneva talks - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page
Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi (R) speaks to President of the Syrian National Coalition Ahmad Jarba during the Arab foreign ministers' meeting in Cairo November 3, 2013. The Syrian opposition set terms on Sunday for attending peace talks to end the Syrian civil war, in a move that throws the proposed conference into further confusion after the international envoy said there should be no preconditions. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi (R) speaks to President of the Syrian National Coalition Ahmad Jarba during the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo November 3, 2013.  REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Arab League foreign ministers called on Sunday for the Syrian opposition to attend the peace conference on the Syrian conflict planned for the end of this month

The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, which currently holds Syria’s seat at the Arab League, was present at the meeting of the organization in Cairo on Sunday. It has previously expressed opposition to the idea of attending the conference in Switzerland, dubbed “Geneva II,” without a prior agreement that Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad would step down.

The joint UN–Arab League envoy for the Syrian conflict, Lakhdar Brahimi, recently admitted that the chances the conference would go ahead in the face of disagreements over preconditions between the Syrian opposition and the government were shrinking.

At the meeting, Ahmad Jarba, the head of the Coalition, said a timeframe should be put in place for the departure of Assad. He also announced that the coalition would not participate in Geneva II if Iran attended the conference.

Jarba added: “The Syrian people are facing the Mullah’s regime, and we are resisting a merciless occupation.”

Jarba also called for arms to be supplied to the opposition, promising the opposition would guarantee the arms would not fall into the wrong hands. He also called on the international community to implement the recommendations of the first Geneva conference on the Syria conflict, which was held in June 2012.