Logo Wide

Opposition Not ‘Totally Ruling Out’ Participation in Sochi Conference: Hariri

Lead opposition negotiator offers signals possible involvement in the Russian track, but says achieving progress in Geneva would make Sochi pointless
Opposition Not ‘Totally Ruling Out’ Participation in Sochi Conference: Hariri

The head of the Syrian opposition delegation told the AFP news agency that the new round of United Nations-led peace talks on Syria will take place in Geneva on Jan. 21.

Hariri said that the U.N. will remain the most qualified party to oversee the efforts to reach a political solution in Syria, in an implicit reference to the talks which Russia has called for on the Jan. 29 and 30 in Sochi.

Regarding the Sochi negotiations, Hariri said the opposition has not received any official invitation and is unsure of the real aim Russia is working toward with the talks.

He added that the United Nations has not yet taken a decision to take part in the Sochi conference, noting that the Syrian opposition “is not totally ruling out” attending, but it believes that achieving progress in the coming Geneva talks will render the Sochi meeting pointless.

According to Hariri, the United Nations will not participate in Sochi unless Russia’s talks support the Geneva process.

The veteran opposition figure said that he met on Monday in New York with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

The United Nations communications office confirmed the meeting between Hariri and Guterres, saying the U.N. welcomed the readiness of the opposition delegation to participate without preconditions at the coming round of talks in the Swiss city.

Hariri said the opposition is waiting to receive an official invitation to the Geneva talks.

The eighth round of Syria talks in Geneva was held at the start of December and failed to achieve any progress.

The opposition called for discussion around the fate of the President Bashar al-Assad during the negotiations about the transitional stage, which the regime has totally rejected. The United Nations has blamed the regime for the failure of the eighth round of talks.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

Helpful keywords