The High Committee for Negotiations convened its fourth meeting on Tuesday, January 26, to discuss arrangements for the peace talks which are scheduled to be held this Friday, while the coordinator for the committee, Dr. Riyad Hijab, thanked the United Nations and friendly states for their efforts to push forward a peaceful process and attempts to arrive at a political solution to end the suffering of the Syrian people.
In a statement, the committee announced its readiness to participate in a political process leading to the start of a political solution to the Syrian crisis based on the June 30, 2012 Geneva statement and Security Council resolution 2118 as the basis for negotiations. This would see the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive powers while preserving the institutions of the state and reforming the security and military institutions, and implementing Security Council resolution 2254 without any exceptions or selectivity in its implementation on the ground. It also informed the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, that it sent a message to UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura asking him to clarify some points in his invitation letter.
The committee stressed the need to achieve a real improvement on the ground before embarking on the negotiating process by ending the siege of cities, delivering aid to affected areas, releasing prisoners — especially women and children — and ending the implementation of death sentences. It also stressed the need to separate the negotiating process from the appalling humanitarian situation, which requires treatment according to articles 12 and 13 of Security Council resolution 2254. The real hurdles to implementing this binding UN resolution are those who are imposing preconditions for implementing them by connecting the treatment of the humanitarian issue with an advance in the political track, it said. There is no doubt that trading political positions for people’s suffering is inhumane, the committee said, adding that there is no justification for the international community to accept it under any circumstance.
The committee also emphasized the need to put an end, without restraints or conditions, to the violations of the Syrian people’s rights, and stop the hand of foreign powers which are bombing populated areas with cluster munitions and barrel bombs and imposing an unjust siege on civilians in various Syrian areas, especially in Madaya, Zabadani, Moadamiya, Ghouta, Daraya, and Waer. It also noted the necessity of not allowing these forces to use the Geneva negotiating track as an excuse to continue these violations.
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.