In an interview with Press TV, Louay al-Mokdad, a spokesman for the so-called Free Syrian Army, said the group will not attend the Geneva talks  unless the international community “gives guarantees” that President Bashar al-Assad will step down. He says the foreign-sponsored opposition, known as Syrian National Council (SNC), is to hold a vote to decide whether to take part in the meeting, which is scheduled to be held on January 22, 2014. The Geneva conference, which will be a follow-up to an earlier one held in June 2012 , had been proposed by Russia and the United States on May 7 but was delayed several times. Earlier this week, Salim Idriss, the FSA commander, said the opposition will not participate in the conference, adding that “conditions are not suitable for running the Geneva 2 talks at the given date.” In November, UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said that the Geneva conference would start “without any preconditions.” The UN, US and Russia have been trying for months to persuade the foreign-backed opposition to attend the peace talks with the government. On October 30, President Assad said only the Syrian people can determine the fate of the country and decide on the outcome of the forthcoming Geneva meeting. “The Syrian people are the only ones who have the right to decide on Syria's future, and any solution or agreement must have the acceptance of the Syrian people, and reflect their desires,” the Syrian president said, referring to the Geneva II talks.