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Syrian civil society speak out against the handling and approach of the Geneva peace talks

Posted on: July 17, 2017 at 5:03 pm

[14 July 2017] As the seventh round of Syria peace talks concludes in Geneva, Syrian civil society activists and members of the Civil Society Support Room of UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, raise concerns over the handling of the Geneva process. Assaad al Achi – Executive Director of Baytna Syria  – commenting on recent discussions around the creation of a single opposition delegation, said: “As members of Syrian civil society, we continue to welcome efforts to unify and solidify the Syrian opposition delegation at the Geneva talks. However this cannot come at the expense of a political transition away from tyranny to freedom and democracy, which remains the priority for Syrian civil society and the vast majority of Syrians. A credible transition to an inclusive and pluralistic Syria – as set out in UNSCR 2254 – which serves as Mr de Mistura’s mandate, must be the focus of the Geneva process. We call on the UN envoy to re-focus the discussions towards this aim and ensure he holds to account any party at the negotiations that continue to stall and undermine the Geneva process” continues Mr Al Achi.

“We are expecting all parties in Geneva to engage in serious discussions to save lives, starting with enforcing a sustainable ceasefire across all Syria. This is what Syrians need and deserve. But precious time is being wasted in Geneva in discussing process at the expense of substantial negotiations towards ending this conflict. This approach of stalling and wasting time  only comes at great costs of the Syrian people – who continue to suffer from the daily indiscriminate attacks – and will only serve the interests of those who want a protracted conflict at the expense of a sustainable peace process ” says Hozan Ibrahim, Syrian activist.

“The unity of the Syrian opposition should be based on a unified vision for a transition that is in compliance with international humanitarian law; war criminals cannot have any role in the future of Syria. It is the brutality of the Assad regime which fuels the global terrorism threat and force Syrians to flee their country. If the international community is serious about defeating ISIS, it must force the Assad regime to engage in credible negotiations on a political transition that allows moderate voices, such as ours and our colleagues across civil society, to push back against the forces of extremism and fill the vacuum on the ground where they once took hold” concludes Mutasem Alsyiofi, Executive Director of The Day After.