Geneva II shows shift toward solution: Syrian group

Damascus, Jan 30: Syria’s domestically-based opposition group National Coordination Body (NCB) has said convening of the Geneva II peace conference represents a shift for Syria’s long-running conflict toward a political solution.

“Holding the Geneva II conference based on international consensus is an indication of shift from the use of force and violence to a political process,” Xinhua quoted Hasan Abdul-Azim, head of the NCB as saying during a press conference here.

“We care about the new political climate, negotiations and political dialogue after the military showdown has reached a dead end,” he said.

The domestic opposition of Syria was not invited to attend the conference, which prompted it to demand a just and equal representation at the talks.

The Geneva II conference on Syria is a UN-backed international peace process aimed at ending Syria’s nearly three-year-old crisis by bringing delegations of the Syrian government and the oppositional Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the opposition umbrella group in exile, to the negotiating table.

The conference kicked off Jan 22 in Montreux city, Switzerland under the mediation of UN peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in close cooperation with the US and Russia. However, no breakthrough has resulted from the ongoing talks as both the opposition and government delegations are holding on to their demands.

The Syrian government wants the conference to focus on fighting terrorism, while the opposition wants it to tackle the issue of establishing a transitional government where President Bashar al- Assad plays no role.

Some rebels view the NCB, a Syrian opposition group as a front for President Assad, has decided not to participate in the peace talks, which will begin on Jan. 22 in Geneva,

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IANS