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Chief Negotiator says Russia seeks 'No Transitional Period' in Sochi conference- Interview

Interviews | 2017-11-09 13:17:02
Chief Negotiator says Russia seeks 'No Transitional Period' in Sochi conference- Interview

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Chief negotiator of the opposition’s High Negotiation Committee said the ‘realism’’ is being talked about recently does not mean acceptance of Russian dictates of political solution, stressing that everyone who accepts Russian Sochi should be excluded from Riyad II.

The Russian efforts to hold Sochi Conference means the abolition of the transitional phase, which we consider the necessary path and the basic solution in Syria, but Russia wants to jump on this stage, Mohammed Sabra affirmed.

Sabra avoided taking responsibility for any Syrian opposition figures about the deviation of the negotiation process in Geneva after the debate shifted from the transitional phase to talking about the four baskets.

Z: What are the political data concerning Sochi?

S: It seems the time to hold the conference is not due yet because of the regional political circumstances around Syria. While the time for the conference was on the 18th of this month, the date was not confirmed and probably will not be on that date. Although the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that it had invited the participating parties, but the reality that everyone who participates in this conference should be excluded from the Riyadh conference.

Z: You demand to exclude whoever participates in Sochi, so what is the alternative when all tracks are off?

S: The problem of the Sochi Conference is that it wants to abolish the transitional phase. In the Geneva Declaration, we have two phases; the first phase is the transitional phase. According to the Geneva Declaration, the transitional governing body, in accordance with the provisions of Article IX (paragraph B) and the results of the national dialogue will be binding in the constitutional formula that will be presented to public referendum. According to Geneva also during the transitional period, a national Conference will be convened. Today Russia goes to what it says is a national dialogue conference without the transitional phase.

Z: But the regional political climate and even the military climate changed and you are still using old speech?

S: When the Geneva Declaration 1 was issued in 2012, the number of martyrs in Syria was less than twenty thousand martyrs, today Assad reached the stage of criminality and bloody use of all kinds of weapons against the Syrian people, including chemical weapons. Political realism says that this regime cannot coexist with Syrians after all these crimes, the Syrian regime cannot be a guarantor of the unity of the Syrians and the rebuilding of their identity. The solution in Syria must remove tension and restore to Syrians their existence. This will not happen with Assad remaining in power. Realism is not at all accepting Assad remain. Realism with the regime means division and consolidation of the status quo and this is not acceptable.

Z: So the whole problem in Syria became the transitional period. What is it important?

S: The transitional period is necessary to comfort the Syrian society and to emerge from the state of blood imposed by the regime. The attempt to produce the regime in the current form is a continuation of the internal and perhaps regional fighting. Hence our concern for the transitional phase in which all Syrians are partners in rebuilding their homeland. What is demanded is a mature environment of stability without which there cannot be a solution.

Z: But in Geneva the negotiations diverted from the transition to the four baskets. Who is responsible for that?

S: This is a framework we discuss inside the High Negotiations Committee and its organizational context. Of course, we have a structural problem in the Syrian political mentality whether opposition or regime.

Z: But there is a diversion in the course of negotiation. There is responsibility?

S: These issues are under discussion and the truth there is a transparent process in the debate and is not missing criticism and evaluation in the corridors of the High Committee for Negotiations.

Z: Is the Geneva round on January 28?

S: So far things are the same, but there are major developments in the whole regional scene, and may affect the holding of the round, and on the twentieth of this month there will be a decision on participation in the Geneva round.

Zaman Al Wasl
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