GENEVA – In late November, World leaders will meet in Geneva for long anticipated peace talks between Syrian government officials and opposition forces with the aim of ending the two-year Syrian civil war and forming a transitional government.
Syria’s Vice Prime Minister, Qadri Jamil, announced the advent of the conference dubbed “Geneva II”, in a news conference on Thursday, October 17. Geneva II, backed by both Western and Arab leaders, is intended to be, according to Jamil, a “platform for dialogue, for mutual understanding.” He added that the outcome he hopes to see is one which will lead to the creation of a coalition government “established on the basis of consensus and reflect the proportion of different political forces in Syria.” Jamil also indicated that the conference will most probably convene from November 23 to 24. However, UN-Arab league envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has stated that no official date has been announced.
EU High Representative Catherine Ashton has asserted the EU’s support for the Geneva II conference. In the press release following the foreign affairs council on October 21, she stated, “We, more than ever, call for what we have called Geneva II to take place. So I hope this can happen in the course of November. There is no alternative to finding that political solution.”
Despite the promising possibilities of the Geneva conference, Syrian opposition groups have voiced resistance in attending the peace talks if Assad remains in power. The British, American and Arab governments have responded with the assertion that the new coalition government will exclude President Assad and his regime. Whether the rebel groups tend to their end of the negotiating table or not, the show must go on. “They have to make up their mind,” said US Secretary of State, John Kerry, “None of us are going to prejudge what they will do in that process.”
Speaking after a meeting of London 11 nations, Kerry expressed his belief that the Syrian civil war cannot end through military intervention but rather through “negotiated settlements.” The war has displaced millions of Syrian families and killed more than 1,00,000 people, according to the United Nations.
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