Assad: "no need" to go to Geneva if opposition expects government to relinquish power
Syrian government representatives will not attend any proposed Geneva II conference if they are expected to relinquish their power, President Assad shared with Lebanese reporters Wednesday (File Archive/AFP)
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President Bashar al-Assad rejected outright the possibility of handing over power to the Syrian opposition as part of any negotiations in the anticipated Geneva II talks, visitors to the Syrian leader quoted him as saying, a local Lebanese daily said Wednesday.
“They want us to relinquish Syria to [the head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition Ahmad] Jarba in II, and thus there is no need [for us] to go to if this is the general idea,” As-Safir quoted Assad as telling members of the General Secretariat of the Arab Parties' General Conference in the Syrian capital Tuesday.
“There will be no success for any conference if Syrians do not paint the future of their country,” the Syrian president said, according to the paper.
The Damascus conference was attended by Hezbollah Arab Relations official Sheikh Hasan Izzeddine, Amal Movement politburo member Mohammad Jbawi, as well as senior officials from the Syrian National Socialist Party (SNNP) and the National Nasserite Organization. Representatives from Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia and Bahrain also attended.
Assad, participants told As-Safir, said was willing to “absorb” opposition members on certain conditions and strike reconciliatory deals with them “but it cannot pardon those who betrayed and shed its peoples’ blood.”
“Saudi Arabia is trying to disrupt some regional and international understandings and is seeking with its strength to postpone the 2 conference,” Assad told the representatives, the paper said.
Assad also echoed remarks by Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah last week in which the chief stressed that Lebanon and regional states must push toward a political solution in Syria.
said representatives from the Lebanese parties stressed that would always remain loyal to and noted Damascus’ contributions to the resistance and the foiling of the new “Middle East scheme.”
The representatives said Lebanon’s disassociation policy – a Beirut government decision that calls for distancing from regional crises, namely in – was being used to evade national commitment to Syria.
The Lebanese party delegates also said Hezbollah’s military role in was a decision aimed at confronting those who want to target the resistance-rejectionist axis.