Meetings at the conference to “unify the position of the Syrian opposition” got underway today in Riyadh in order to find a political solution to the Syrian crisis. The President of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces Khaled Khoja expressed great optimism by saying that the sidelines meetings that preceded the official opening of the conference demonstrated a 90% consensus between the forces involved.
Khoja told Asharq Al-Awsat that this optimism may extend to other topics such as the formation of a delegation which will take over negotiations with the regime indicating that the “opposition wants to raise the issue of the Russian and Iranian occupations and not just the fate of (the Syrian President Bashar) Al-Assad during any future negotiations”.
Khoja stressed that the Riyadh meetings are not supposed to produce a new political body for the opposition because its aim is to unite the negotiation position of the opposition. He clarified that there are parties of the opposition that enjoy the support of the regime “and because of this we need to know what we want from the transitional phase and what this stage entails, and we must know who is the opposition and who is not the opposition, and this is what we must emerge with from these meetings”.
The Vice President of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces Hisham Marwah said that “there is a definitive agreement on Bashar Al-Assad’s departure, and there can be no solution in Syria without the departure of Bashar Al-Assad”. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the bilateral meetings between the joint forces focused on the importance of working on an opposition document which consists of 16 points including a common vision to end the Syrian crisis.
The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced before the Riyadh conference that New York may host an international meeting on the Syrian matter on the 18th of December. Kerry pointed out that the meeting “depends partly on the outcome of the conference which Saudi Arabia organised for representatives of the Syrian opposition in the coming days”.