DOHA, Qatar, January 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Dr. Riad Hijab
Former Prime Minister of Syria
General Coordinator of the Supreme Commission for negotiations
Dr. Riad Hijab announced that meetings held by the Supreme Commission for Negotiations on Sunday and Monday (January 3-4 2016); come as continuation of the work entrusted to the Commission in accordance with the Riyadh Conference on 9-10 December 2015.
Dr. Hijab confirmed the agenda included the selection of the negotiating team on basis of qualification, eligibility and in- line with professional standards in order to meet the magnitude of the challenges faced by the Syrian people.
The Commission members agreed to adopt the principles within the Riyadh statement as the basis for negotiations; which defined the negotiating parameters, and which include: affirming Syrian territorial integrity, maintaining state institutions, restructuring the security and military institutions, the rejection of terrorism in all its forms and the establishment of a pluralistic system representative of all the Syrian people; Bashar al-Assad and officials of his regime have no place in any future political arrangements.
The Commission members also agreed on the urgency for total adherence to Articles (12) and (13) of Security Council resolution 2254 before embarking on further preparations for the negotiating process; in particular, lifting the siege imposed on cities and besieged regions in order to enable humanitarian agencies access to deliver aid to all those in need, releasing all unlawfully imprisoned detainees, the cessation of aerial and artillery bombardment of civilians and civilian targets, for all parties to immediately honour their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and other goodwill and confidence-building measures with which negotiations may be possible.
In addition to adhering to the principles declared in the Riyadh Conference, Dr Hijab added that the Geneva Communiqué (30 June 2012) also represents the foundations for negotiations for the transitional phase; specifically the principles on the establishment of a transitional ruling committee carrying clear unambiguous executive authority.
Dr. Hijab stressed that selecting the negotiating team comes as part of the Syrian opposition's keenness to cooperate with international efforts to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria; but he also stressed that this cooperation is most certainly not a carte blanche for the regime and its allies to continue committing crimes against the Syrian people in repeated violations of international law. Indeed, Security Council resolution 2254 has many loopholes, cynically used by the regime and their allies to continue their violently belligerent agenda in total disregard for any political process.
With the continued indiscriminate shelling of civilians, the insistence of some to conveniently and unjustly classify opposition groups as terrorists, and attempts by the regime and its allies to determine selection of opposition delegation, it is no wonder that Dr Hijab questioned the feasibility of this negotiating process. He pointed out that the Security Council resolution in New York intended to defer disagreement amongst international powers, without attempting to engage with or resolve such disagreements. Dr Hijab warned of the risks of prolonging the crisis and responding to the attempts by the regime and its allies to disrupt the political process through protracted negotiations whilst the regime continues its systematic bombardment and killing.
Dr Hijab stressed that the obstruction of the political process also serves the agendas of terrorist groups with proven ties to the Syrian regime.
On the eve of his meeting with the UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, Dr Hijab confirmed he will be explicitly conveying the Syrian opposition's message: "If Bashar al-Assad's regime has accepted violations of Syria's sovereignty, territory and airspace, and relentless assault on the Syrian people by some international powers, groups of mercenaries and cross-border militias, the Syrian Revolution on the other hand has emerged on foundations of reclaiming sovereignty over all Syrian territory and the preservation of lives and property - no compromise on the unity of Syrian territory; there is no room for any outside interference in the selection of the opposition's delegation for negotiations; there is no room for the continuation of Bashar al-Assad, his regime and their symbols in Syria during the transitional period or in any political future. "
SOURCE Office of Dr Riad Hijab, Former Prime Minister of Syria