Syrian opposition insists on urgent political transition

Syrian main opposition HNC reiterates desire to find solution on political transition within six months

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Members of the main Syrian opposition body George Sabra and Bassma Kodmani deliver a speech during a press conference after their meeting with UN Special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura in Geneva, Switzerland on March 17, 2016.

Bassma Kodmani, a member of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) of the Syrian opposition, told reporters after meeting with UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura on Thursday that the opposition is "very keen to avoid a process that does not deliver."

"De Mistura reasserted that it was a six-month timeframe, hopefully less, but certainly not more. That to us is a reassurance," she said

"The timeframe is now set...we are taking the progress seriously."

Kodmani also said that the HNC presented a detailed memo to the special envoy on their vision of the transitional period and the formation of the transitional governing body .

"We heard from de Mistura about the other side's positions ... On our side, we are comfortable with written documents and that is what we did today. We are hoping he can press the other side to do the same, to provide such documents," she said.

HNC negotiator George Cabra said that the special envoy did not discuss federalism in the meeting but "We believe these measures are illegitimate, unacceptable, completely rejected."

De Mistura also told reporters that there were “no discussions about federalism.”

The PYD, which is linked to PKK terrorist group, declared an autonomous federal region in northern Syria on Thursday.

‘Large gap’ between parties

The UN envoy said the distance between the Syrian regime and opposition was “large.”

"Today, we had an intense, in my opinion, very productive meeting with HNC...It was very substantive. The papers on the political transition were distributed,” he said.

Noting that he will share the HNC documents with the regime delegation, de Mistura said he will meet separately with regime and opposition delegations on Friday.

The new round of talks in Geneva aim to end the conflict in Syria that has seen at least 470,000 people killed and more than 11 million displaced, and which has led to the rise of DAESH and sparked a refugee crisis.

The talks ended abruptly last month amid an offensive by Syrian regime forces backed by Russian air strikes.

Later, the US and Russia agreed a "cessation of hostilities" deal that saw a dramatic reduction in fighting.

TRTWorld and agencies