Peace proposal by US, Saudi Arabia ‘not even worth the ink’: Syria
The Syrian ambassador to the United Nations and head of the government delegation to intra-Syrian peace talks has strongly rejected a proposal offered by some countries, including the US and Saudi Arabia, for the resolution of the Syrian crisis, saying the so-called peace plan is “not even worth the ink.”
Bashar al-Ja’afari made the remarks at a press conference held at the end of UN-brokered indirect peace negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition groups in the Austrian capital city of Vienna on Friday, referring to what he described as an informal paper about reviving the political process in Geneva proposed by the US, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
“Every word and sentence of this unofficial paper is rejected. And it is not worth the ink that it is printed on because the people will not and do not accept solutions which come down on parachutes or on the backs of tanks,” Ja’afari said.
Furthermore, he blasted the five countries and told reporters that the proposal was “tantamount to a black comedy.”
“All of them have participated in the bloodshed of the Syrian people,” he said of the five nations, denouncing Washington as the creator, financial supporter and protector of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
How can the US, which “has Syrian blood on its hands… and attacks Syria directly,… speak of a political solution and the future of Syria? How can countries like Britain and France, which follow the American policy…, be the makers of any political solution… in Syria?” Ja’afari added.
The senior Syrian negotiator also blasted Jordan for opening “its territories for foreign terrorists” and becoming “a haven for training camps” for them. He also questioned Amman’s eligibility as a determiner of Syria’s “politics, sovereignty and… future.”
Ja’afari went on to lambast Saudi Arabia for co-authoring such a proposal, describing Riyadh sarcastically as anything but a “beacon of freedom in the east.”
Speaking about the Vienna two-day meeting, he said the Syrian delegation had constructive discussions with UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura. “We used the meeting to answer many questions, especially with regard to Sochi’s congress,” Ja’afari said.
Ja’afari’s comments came just three days before a separate round of intra-Syrian national dialogue between Damascus and the opposition would commence in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. On Thursday, Russia said some 1,600 people had been invited to the Congress of National Dialogue aimed at resolving the years-long crisis in the Arab country.
Last December, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to hold the congress in Sochi on January 29-30. While the Syrian government at the time immediately announced that it would attend the event, 40 Syrian “opposition” groups rejected the Russian initiative, which is also aimed at agreeing on a post-war constitution in the Arab country.
According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, international observers, including those from the UN, will participate in the congress along with Syrian parties. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will also attend.
Earlier this week, Syria’s main opposition group, the Saudi-affiliated Syrian High Negotiations Commission (HNC), announced that it would need further details before it could make a final decision on whether to take part in the congress, which dozens of opposition armed groups have already rejected.
Eight rounds of Syria peace talks, which took place in the Swiss city of Geneva, failed to achieve tangible results, mainly due to the opposition’s insistence that the Syrian government cede power.
A parallel peace process between Syria’s warring parties in the Kazakh capital Astana has resulted in significant achievements instead, leading to ceasefires and the establishment of de-escalation zones across the conflict-ridden country. The Astana talks have been brokered by Iran, Russia and Turkey.
Syrian opposition faction ‘won’t attend Sochi Congress’
Meanwhile, a spokesman for a faction of the Syrian opposition says the outfit will not attend the Sochi talks.
Yahya al-Aridi said his faction had not seen “commitment” on the part of the Syrian government in the round of talks in Vienna and that the Sochi Congress was meant to “sideline” the Geneva process.
Syrian opposition groups, particularly those instructed by Saudi Arabia, have been dismayed by the progress made in the Astana process, and have often threatened not to participate in talks arranged by the three guarantor states of the Astana process, only to show up at the eleventh hour most of the times.
Separately, de Mistura, the UN envoy, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres would decide how the world body would respond to the invitation to attend Sochi. He added that Russia said Sochi was aimed at supporting the UN process.