Al-Jaafari: Moscow meeting broke the deadlock

Moscow, SANA-Head of the Syrian government’s delegation to Moscow consultative meeting on Syria Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari said the Syrian delegation had been “positive and open all through the consultative sessions,” in stark contrast to the opposition’s delegations.

Al-Jaafari, who was speaking during a press conference in Moscow following the conclusion of discussions, said that the consultative meeting having been convened at all served to break the deadlock which had been there all along since the start of the crisis.

“The Russian friends have succeeded where the others have failed,” al-Jaafari noted.

Describing the meeting as positive, al-Jaafari said that it created a state of communication among opposition figures who had previously rebuffed the idea of holding talks with the government.

“They have eventually come to sit with the Syrian government’s delegation in the first such consultations between the government’s delegation and the opposition’s delegations,” he added.

Commenting on the outcomes of the meeting, al-Jaafari said it is natural that there had been no “full results” as the meeting was “preparatory and consultative.”

He noted that some opposition figures, in their personal capacity, have opposed the idea of endorsing Moscow principles in the last minute, coming up with unconvincing justifications that surprised the Russian side.

In remarks about the opposition’s divisions which were in display during the talks, al-Jaafari said: “Not for once did we listen to a unified position by the opposition, not even on the humanitarian issue.”

The Syrian top diplomat dismissed as untrue reports about differences between the Syrian government’s delegation and that of the opposition, indicating that differences instead had been in the ranks of the opposition’s delegations.

Al-Jaafari pointed to an agreement with the Russian friends for resuming consultations for a future meeting whose date is to be set at a later time.

“Terrorism featured elaborately during the talks, and the Russians had shown support and understanding about it…Accordingly, the topic was listed among Moscow principles,” al-Jaafari said.

Answering a question as to where the next round of discussions can be possibly held, al-Jaafari said that this was discussed with the Russian friends but hoped the final meetings will come in the context of a national dialogue conference held in Damascus.

The document that was formulated under the title of “Moscow Principles” had eventually emerged as the Chairperson’s paper due to the objection of opposition figures in their personal capacity. “But 90% of the attendees have agreed to the formula proposed by the Russian friends,” he said.

Asked about the workability of a solution mechanism based on Geneva I communiqué amid talk of its irrelevance following the emergence of ISIS, al-Jaafari said that this negative development must be taken into consideration during consultative meetings.

Among the salient points of “Moscow Principles” paper that was unanimously agreed on was condemning Israel’s attacks against Syria and Lebanon and demanding that international pressure on it be brought to bear, he pointed out.

Al-Jaafari said the government’s delegation and those of the opposition were in agreement as regards acknowledging the existence of foreign-backed terrorism in Syria and agreed on the necessity of combating it.

He said that the government’s delegation requested that two items be added: the first is the necessity of liberating the occupied Syrian Golan, while the second being the importance that the Syrian government and oppositions be united in demanding a lifting of unilateral economic sanctions on the Syrian people.

Both items, he said, were endorsed uncontested. “But some oppositions have rejected points related to fighting terrorism,” he said.

Frequently refereeing to the opposition in the plural, al-Jaafari said that it is a “true and spot-on designation” whose truthfulness was admitted by the oppositions themselves during the talks.

Manal Ismael

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