Salim al-Muslat, the spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee which is participating in the Geneva talks, said the opposition delegation “came to find a permanent political solution in Syria, to alleviate the suffering of the people. They deserve that, because they have spent years under the crimes of the regime.”
Muslat’s comments came in a press conference held on Sunday in the Swiss city of Geneva, which is hosting a new round of peace talks between the Syrian opposition and regime delegations, in an effort to end the war which has consumed the country for five years.
Through its spokesman, the Syrian opposition expressed its hope that the talks would begin on Monday, “to search for a fully-empowered transitional governing body, with no role for any criminal, including Bashar al-Assad.”
Muslat said: “We came here representing the people, bearing great trust we want to be realized through a political solution, not through killing and destruction. We want a peaceful solution for our people, while the regime wants killing and destruction.”
He continued, saying: “We came in order to alleviate the suffering of our people, and we hope that the [Assad regime] is serious. We came here in seriousness for this round, and we value the efforts of our friends and brothers and UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura, and what he has done to make the political process successful.”
He continued: “We look forward to the talks beginning tomorrow (Monday) by searching for a transitional government, which bears full powers, including the powers of the president of the republic, with no role in this stage, or in any coming stage, for any criminal who has committed any crimes against the Syrian people, including Bashar al-Assad.”
Muslat said that the opposition delegation “came to start the negotiations in search of a transitional governing body and they did not come in order to pull out, which the other side might say (in a reference to the regime).”
In response to Russia’s claims that Kurdish representation was not present at the negotiations, He said: “There are those who represent the Kurds in the negotiating delegation, and we are eager to put an end to the suffering of the Syrian people and all its constituencies. The issue of federalism will be decided by the people, and we are keen for the country to be united.”
Muslat said that if the comments by Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem regarding the fate of President Assad had been issued by Russia, “the opposition would have dealt with it seriously. But it was issued by the regime, which is not the decision-maker in Syria.”
“We are not only confronting Assad in Syria,” he stressed, “but terrorism also, and Assad is the head of terrorism, and exploits it. We have the Free Syrian Army and do not support ISIS or Al-Qaeda. We are discussing a future for the country without terrorism.”
Muslat said that the opposition still believes America is a friendly country, adding that he hopes its position will be more serious in dealing with Russia. “It is able to change the situation. On the humanitarian side, it has done a lot. But politically we are still waiting for more.”
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.