Syrian government sets preconditions for talks
Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations says Damascus is not opposed to talks regarding a transitional government, but it has a precondition for negotiations.
Bashar Ja’afari set a precondition for talks, saying the opposition must first acknowledge the existence of terrorism in Syria.
Speaking to reporters after a closed UN General Assembly meeting on Friday, the Syrian ambassador censured both UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi for not mentioning terrorism in the General Assembly meeting.
Ja’afari said fighting terrorism is the number one priority in the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Two rounds of recent talks hosted by Brahimi and held in Switzerland have made no progress toward an end to the crisis in Syria.
The second round of talks between delegations representing the Syrian government and the Syrian National Coalition in the Swiss city of Geneva deadlocked in mid-February with both sides sticking to their positions.
The Syrian delegation said fighting terrorism should be the top priority, but the opposition said the resignation of President Assad and the formation of a transitional government must come first.
More than 130,000 people are said to have been killed over the past three years of turmoil in Syria. Millions have also been displaced due to the crisis.