Bashar al-Ja’afari, the Syrian ambassador to the UN and chief negotiator in Geneva talks, attends a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, April 20, 2016. © Reuters
’s chief negotiator in peace talks says the so-called opposition group High Negotiations Committee (HNC), which suspended its participation in the negotiations, does not represent the Syrian people.
“To begin with, they (the HNC) do not represent the Syrian people,” Bashar al-Ja’afari said on Wednesday, adding, “Quite on the contrary, by leaving, they may be taking away a major obstacle that will allow us to reach a solution.”
Ja’afari, who also serves as Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, made the remarks at a news conference in the Swiss city of Geneva after meeting with Ramzy Ezzedine Ramzy, the UN’s deputy special envoy to Syria.
His comments came one day after some leaders of the Saudi-backed HNC left the latest round of the peace talks, which began in Geneva on April 13, to protest at what they called escalating violence and restrictions on humanitarian access in Syria.
HNC coordinator, Riyad Hijab, said he was leaving Geneva along with some of his colleagues from the opposition group, adding that the process will continue gradually until Friday.
HNC coordinator Riyad Hijab addresses a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, April 19, 2016. © Reuters
Ja’afari noted that his meeting with UN official shows the Syrian government’s “serious and positive” engagement in the Geneva talks
A political solution to the crisis in Syria consists of the formation of a national unity government, an amended constitution and parliamentary elections, he added.
Any group that thinks otherwise is “living an illusion” and is “wasting their time and ours,” the Syrian diplomat went on to say.
Opposition not serious in settling Syria crisis
In a relevant development on Wednesday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad said the suspension of participation in the talks by the Riyadh-backed opposition delegation is part of their “acrobatic moves.”
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad © AFP
The opposition’s move proved their lack of seriousness in reaching a political solution to the conflict gripping the Arab country, Syria’s official news agency, SANA, quoted Mekdad as saying upon his arrival in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
He added that the opposition does not make its own decisions, as it holds allegiances, particularly to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar.
Syria has been grappling with a deadly conflict it blames on some foreign states for more than five years. The militancy has left over 470,000 people dead so far, according to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research.