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SNC: Jamil’s statement “not worthy of attention” | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Despite numerous media reports stating that Syria is “ready to discuss” the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, the opposition Syrian National Council [SNC] has announced that it sees nothing new in the statement issued by Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil from Moscow yesterday. SNC spokesman Ahmed Ramadan told Asharq Al-Awsat that Jamil’s statements were “not worthy of attention and do not carry any serious guarantee.” He stressed that the Syrian Deputy Prime Minister’s statement was “an attempt to alleviate the pressure on Syria, and does not contain any serious guarantee, in that this is a call for dialogue without preconditions, including apparently the prospect of the resignation of al-Assad.”

In comments translated from Russian, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil reportedly said “As far as his [al-Assad’s] resignation goes – making the resignation itself a condition for holding dialogue means that you will never be able to reach this dialogue. But any problems can be discussed during negotiations. We are even ready to discuss this issue.”

The SNC spokesman stressed that for the Syrian opposition “there is no dialogue with the regime, but rather dialogue on the mechanism for the transfer of power [in Syria] which al-Assad must not be a part of” adding “not in the dialogue, nor in what follows.”

Ramadan also told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Qadri Jamil’s talk is a repeated position and does not contain any important guarantee, in addition to being issued by a person who does not represent a central part of the regime.”

He added “the regime is calling for dialogue forgetting that it has so far killed 25,000 martyrs of the Syrian people.”

Washington has also expressed deep scepticism over Jamil’s suggestions that the regime is open to discussing the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said “we saw the reports of the press conference that the deputy prime minister gave. Frankly, we didn’t see anything terribly new there.”

The US State Department spokesperson said that Jamil’s statement had “complicate[d]” the situation, saying “the Syrian government knows what it needs to do, and the Russian government, as you know, joined us in Geneva in setting forth a very clear transition plan.” Nuland stressed that Moscow should pressure the al-Assad regime “to start now to be following through on a transition plan, but, you know, there’s no need to complicate it, as the deputy prime minister appeared to do.”

For his part, SNC-member Burhan Ghalioun labeled Bashar al-Assad a criminal and stressed that “there is no room to negotiate with a criminal.” He said that the Syrian people view al-Assad as a criminal, adding that if the Syrian government wants to save the country it should “treat al-Assad as what he is – a criminal.”

Ghalioun previously served as chairman of the Syrian opposition umbrella group, before stepping down in May. He said that “all this talk about negotiations is only intended to waste more time” adding “it would be most appropriate that the criminal named Bashar al-Assad be arrested and stop his killing spree.”