Exiled Syrian opposition to attend Geneva talks

Updated: 2013-11-28 10:22


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DAMASCUS -- The head of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmad Jarba, announced Wednesday night that his group, which is the main opposition umbrella in exile, will attend the Geneva II peace conference.

Jarba made the announcement during a visit to Cairo, Egypt, less than 24 hours after the Syrian government said it will attend the peace talks in Geneva.

Commenting on Iran's possible participation in the conference, Jarba said Iran can take part in the event only if it "stopped killing the Syrians," in reference to the support Iran is rendering to the administration of President Bashar al-Assad.

After months of delay, Syria's government and opposition are expected to hold their first negotiations aimed at ending the country's political crisis and armed conflict in Geneva on Jan 22.

However, the precise agenda for the negotiations, as well as a complete list of participants, remained unresolved.

The goal of Geneva II is to achieve a political solution to the conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the government and the opposition for the full implementation of the Geneva communique, adopted after the Geneva I conference on Jan 30, 2012.

The communique, which has been endorsed by the UN Security Council, lays out key steps to end the violence.

Yet, hurdles still lie ahead as the SNC wants no role of Assad in the transitional period of Syria while the government has rejected such a precondition.