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Opposition not weak, still committed to transitional period: spokesman- Interview

Interviews | 2017-12-21 16:03:27
Opposition not weak, still committed to transitional period: spokesman- Interview

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Spokesman for Syria's High Negotiations Committee said the opposition is not as weak as some are trying to portray it, assuring that the unity of Cairo, Moscow and Riyadh platforms has showed a concrete stance prevented the U.N. envoy from using the multiplicity of the opposition as an obstacle for moving on the Syria talks.

Dr. Yahya al-Aridi said the U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura was practically investigated before the opposition delegation and he officially apologized to the opposition about mistreating them. 

The prominent dissident and media adviser stressed that the opposition had never responded to the mistreatment with similar actions.

The full interview: 

- What is new in the negotiating delegation as well as the Geneva 8 round?

Let me start with the positive aspects. After forming the Riyadh 2 delegation, this withdrew from the UN envoy de Mistura, Russia and some countries the excuse that other platforms (Moscow or Cairo) exist, and therefore in Geneva we were one delegation without any platforms, although members of the Moscow and Cairo platforms were in the Riyadh 1 delegation, but today the delegation is without platforms which is a political victory for the opposition.

Indeed, many of the differences between the platforms have been erased, and for Cairo, it can be said that there is almost complete harmony. To the point that the speech of someone like Firas al-Khalidi is more severe than my speech within the diplomatic political discourse. 

The other thing is that what was agreed upon in Riyadh 2 is no less than what was agreed upon in Riyadh 1.

- As long as the situation is like this and there is this strict adherence to the principles of the negotiation then why was the delegation so strongly criticized from within the opposition?

Allow me to say that everyone who criticizes has a weak vision, as well as the fact that the critics of the new delegation have preconceived ideas and are unable to be logical.

- But (it was said) you gave up talking about the transitional period and this is the essence of the political process?

This is a false accusation, and there is no truth to it. It is enough that Bashar al-Jaafari attacked the Riyadh 2 statement. Are these people aligned with Bashar al-Jaafari, and Riyadh 1 was not attacked in the same way as Riyadh 2. Anyone who criticizes Riyadh 2 should reflect upon himself. Is the role of the delegation to enter or criticize, does this make sense? The revolution is not a job, and many of the critics were looking for a role.

- Did de Mistura really apologize for what he said that no one is with you [opposition] anymore? 

* De Mistura tried to shake our confidence in ourselves in this round and tried to make us despair and pressure us by talking about Sochi and he actually said that states were no longer with us as they were before. But we did not react and continued to hold on. The next day we had a meeting with him and we presented our papers with the utmost accuracy and confidence. We subjected De Mistura to a quasi-investigation about some specific questions. He responded verbatim, “I’m an old man who cannot apologize easily, but I apologize to you.”

Is Sochi really going to replace Geneva?

I do not think Sochi is like any other conference [held so far], and from de Mistura's briefing to the Security Council it is clear that he is pushing the Security Council to adopt a position, and this is a moving current that will not be shifted. As for Sochi, it is something else.

- What are you preparing for the next stage?

Since the end of the eighth round, we are preparing our papers for the next round, and we are ready for any scenario. And in Riyadh we discussed everything related to the last round and what we should do in the next round. We are now more cohesive than before.

- Four rounds have passed since Riyadh 1, what has changed? Do not you think that you are part of the absurdism of the situation?

This is true in form, but the military situation is developing on the ground and America is retreating in Syria. At the same time, we have useful international decisions that we must hold on to, and here comes our political movement. Military force is not everything as control on the ground does not mean legitimacy. There is no legitimacy for injustice and force. Nothing grants the regime legitimacy at the current time. 

- Do not you think that you are in a weak position in Geneva in the event the military balance collapses?

We may be weak in terms of military tools, but we are not weak in will, determination and the will of the right. We are now more politically and legally organized than before. Today we have the right and we will not be defeated.

We are entrusted by the Syrian people, and this negotiating delegation is not the delegation that some portray it as being. We are working for a cause and everyone is required to support and not spread despair. We will not give up a single right of the Syrian people but we must be one political and military hand.
Zaman Al Wasl
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