Riyadh Conference: the Gateway of Important Deliberations Among the Syrian Opposition

"The Conference is a message to the Russians after they tried to show that there is no Syrian party able to replace the regime"

Saudi Arabia is hosting an expanded meeting of the Syrian opposition in an attempt to reach a unified position that contributes to the solution of the Syrian issue.

At the InterContinental Riyadh hotel in the center of the capital, Riyadh, 103 Syrian opposition figures will meet over three days in order to unify their ranks, select their representatives in the negotiations and identify their positions towards the transition of power process in accordance with the Geneva I statement of 2012.

Saudi political expert, Jamal Khashikgi, said the conference is an important step in the Syrian peace process, as all the Syrian opposition currents will meet for the first time since the outbreak of the revolution.

In an interview with the Anatolia News Agency, Khashikgi said that the "Saudi government is trying its best to find a solution, or help in reaching a peaceful solution in Syria, and this conference is part of these efforts. The conference will lead to the formation of a Syrian national conference that supports the negotiating team which will negotiate with the delegation of the Syrian regime to apply the Geneva Convention I".

"The Conference is a message to the Russians after they tried to show that there is no Syrian party able to replace the regime. The conference aims at finding this Syrian party which will be recognized internationally, and will be backed by the Syrian people. This party will negotiate with the regime about the formation of the transitional governing body in accordance with the principles of Geneva I. The conference is also expected to issue a statement expressing the aspirations of Syrian people", Khashikgi added.

According to the Saudi expert, all the moderate and influential Syrian opposition factions are participating in this conference, and no one is excluded, but he added: "Those who were excluded are not considered part of the Syrian opposition, such as ISIS or the Nusra Front, as they have a different project from the demands of Syrian people. The participants in this conference are those who have a Syrian participatory project".

The Syrian opposition conference in Riyadh is based on the decisions of the Vienna III conference, which took place last November with the participation of 17 countries, including the United States, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The final list of the 103 participants included the political and military wings of the Syrian opposition. The Syrian National Coalition is represented by 21 figureS, armed opposition forces are represented by 19 figureS, while there are 63 figures from different opposition currents and entities, most notably the National Coordination Commission, the Cairo Conference, Building the Syrian State Current, as well as independent dissidents, public figures and activists.

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.

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