Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Faisal Mikdad: “Syria’s official delegation to participate in 2nd round of Geneva talks next Monday”
Damascus, 7 FEB 2014 – Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Faisal Mikdad, member of Syria’s official delegation to Geneva conference announced that the delegation will participate in the second round of talks in Geneva scheduled next Monday.
“The delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic underlines continuing the efforts made at the first round of the conference and putting emphasis on discussing Geneva Communique item by item in order,” Mikdad told SANA in a statement on Friday.
“Restoring security and stability to Syria makes it necessary to discuss putting an end to terrorism and violence as stated in Geneva Communique and that the two Syrian sides agree on that for the protection of the Syrian citizens’ lives and stopping the Syrian bloodshed at the hands of the armed terrorist groups and their regional and international backers,” he added.
The first round of Geneva talks started with an open session in the Swiss city of Montreux on January 22 with the presence of foreign ministers of a number of countries, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.
Talks then moved to Geneva where closed sessions took place during which discussions between Syria’s delegation and the Coalition delegation so-called “opposition” were held through Brahimi. The sessions continued through January 31.
Geneva talks came out with no tangible results and this was what Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Head of Syria’s delegation Walid al-Moallem stressed in a press conference he held in Geneva on the last day of talks.
“We reached no tangible outcomes over this week of dialogue and that was because of two reasons; the first one had to do with the other side being immature and unserious and threatening to blow up the meeting more than once and showing intransigence over one and only issue as if we came here for one hour during which we are to hand them everything and then we go back. And this indicates the immaturity I talked about and the delusions they have,” al-Moallem told the reporters in Geneva.
He added that the other reason why the talks failed to bring about any outcomes is “the tense atmosphere with which the US wanted to wrap Geneva 2 meeting with its open presence and blatant interference in the meeting’s affairs and especially in terms of steering the other side since the opening of the meetings in Montreux and through its armament decision which came up while the meetings were taking place.”
Bashar al-Jaafari: “We will head to Geneva with the same message and spirit”
Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, said that the Syrian Arab Republic delegation will head to Geneva with the same message, directive and spirit on the internal, Arab, Regional and international levels in order to involve the other side in a multi-faceted dialogue that proves positive, constructive and fruitful, not a dialogue beneath the level expected by the Syrian street.
In an interview given to Lebanon’s NBN TV channel on Friday, al-Jaafari said that the upper limit of the dialogue must be raised higher than in the first round and that it should be distinctly patriotic, and that the official Syrian delegation will attempt to draw the other side in this direction as much as possible.
He voiced satisfaction over the first round of talks in which the Syrian official delegation had the upper hand in terms of dialogue, something which was acknowledged by western media, political analysts, and the UN delegation.
“We’re looking forward to dialogue with national opposition that has the interests of Syria and the Syrian people in sight and that shares with us common denominators and constants, primarily preserving Syria’s independence, sovereignty and unity, rejecting foreign interference, demanding the liberation of its occupied lands, and rejecting violence and terrorism,” al-Jaafari said.
He pointed out that the coalition delegation of the so-called “opposition” rejected all the papers submitted in the first round without even reading or discussing them, when these papers aimed at creating common denominators and included constants that no patriotic person can reject.
Al-Jaafari noted that the coalition delegation was receiving instructions via paper clippings delivered to the meeting room from dark rooms in the hotel where that delegation was staying, and that the coalition delegation had an incorrect interpretation of what was proposed and therefore they reached wrong conclusions, adding that their discourse and propositions were those of amateurs, not professionals.
He said that the coalition delegation was under the illusion that it would seize power in Syria as easily as drinking water, which is what they were promised, and despite that, the Syrian official delegation said that it has no objections to discussing anything in the first Geneva communiqué as long as it’s discussed in the logical order starting from the first item.
Al-Jaafari noted that regardless of any transitional or permanent governing body or whatever one might call such a thing, a constitutional vacuum in any country would create problems, and a transitional stage cannot proceed with a constitutional vacuum, therefore the current constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic will be in effect during any transitional stage up until elections or any other constitution submitted to be approved by the people.
“Each side interprets the Geneva communiqué in the way they desire… the Russia interpretation is different from the American interpretation which is also different from the interpretation of UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. As for us in Syria, we read it objectively and without any problem,” he said.
He said that the coalition delegation will be different in form during the next round, as there is a need for involving part of the national opposition in it since Syria’s future cannot be discussed with one element in the opposition, adding that Russia and Brahimi agree with this opinion.
Al-Jaafari dismissed the new Saudi approach towards Saudi terrorists fighting in Syria as misleading and lacking seriousness as it only tackles one aspect of the issue, noting that this approach is similar to the statements of the British Prime Minister and Interior Minister who said that they will withdraw the nationalities of 500 British terrorists fighting in Syria, saying that such statements will motivate terrorists as they effectively mean “stay in Syria to kill Syrians as you have no other choice.”
He asserted that Saudi Arabia, other Arab Gulf countries and United States must stop funding, arming and supporting terrorists in Syria and that they should comply with the Security Council’s counterterrorism resolutions, adding “it cannot be understood how the United States includes Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham on its list of terrorist organizations all while it announces that it will continue arming terrorist groups in Syria.”
Al-Jaafari pointed out that since the crisis began in Syria, the Syrian government sent around 500 letters to the United Nations and the Security Council, and almost 269 of these letters are related to counterterrorism and built on evidence, adding that these letters helped transition the countries which support terrorism from the stage of denial to the stage of acknowledging the presence of terrorism in Syria.
Damascus, 7 February 2014 – SANA/Ghossoun/Said/Sabbagh