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New Rift Within Syrian Opposition due to Geneva Trip

Divisions within the Syrian opposition delegation to the constitutional committee are getting deeper, after three coalition members visited Switzerland, according to al-Modon.
New rift within Syrian opposition due to Geneva trip
New Rift Within Syrian Opposition due to Geneva Trip

A delegation from the opposition Syrian Negotiating Committee will hold meetings with representatives of the European Union and other countries in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting will focus on the Steps for Steps initiative announced by UN envoy to Syria, Geir Pedersen. 

The Committee’s delegation consists of the Committee’s Chairman, Anas al-Abdah, and the head of the opposition delegation in the constitutional committee negotiations, Hadi al-Bahra, and Badr Jamous. 

It is remarkable that the three of them belong to the coalition bloc, while representatives of the other blocs that make up the negotiating body are absent. This has caused new tension within the already deeply divided body, and a number of components have been freezing participation in its work for two years. 

While the delegation’s visit to Geneva was not officially announced, al-Modon learned that disagreements arose after members of the independent bloc protested the move “because of a lack of coordination with them and the fear of reversing the Committee’s decision to reject Pedersen’s recent approach”. 

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On February 9th, the Negotiating Committee rejected the Steps-for-Steps plan. In a press release, it said that it also rejected “any initiatives or mechanisms that do not lead practically and clearly to the full and strict implementation of Resolution 2254, in preparation for reaching its primary goal of achieving a political transition.”   

However, opposition sources revealed to al-Modon that the negotiating committee and the opposition National Coalition are under pressure to reverse this decision and accept Pedersen’s plan, which he presented after consulting with all the countries involved in the Syrian issue.

According to the sources, some members of the Committee are afraid that the delegation in Geneva will respond to these pressures and reverse their decision, especially with the delegation not providing any information on the details and results of the meetings it has held so far. Many are demanding that the position of rejecting the new initiative be adhered to, amid the regime’s continued failure of the current political process, notably the negotiations of the Constitutional Committee. 

On Sunday, the delegation met with the European Union delegation in Geneva, which said that the talks with Abdah and Bahra were constructive. The delegation noted that the EU “fully supports their work and the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254”. “After 10 years, the Syrian people deserve peace,” it said in a tweet.   

“We highly appreciate the continued commitment and support of the European Union for a credible political process in Geneva that will lead to the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254,” said the head of the opposition delegation to the Constitutional Committee. “The Syrian people continue to seek justice, freedom, and democracy,” he said in a tweet.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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