The Syrian opposition also said it seeks fresh presidential elections in the country
The Western countries have been unanimous in their condemnation of the Syrian regime’ efforts to restrict the agenda items in the fresh round of Geneva talks set to start on Monday.
On Saturday, the foreign minister of Syria had declared that there will be no discussion on the presidential elections. John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, responded by saying that Damascus was seeking to disrupt the peace initiative.
The fresh round of Geneva peace talks led by the United Nations are seen as a serious effort to bring an end to the Syrian crisis since Russia jumped into the civil war at the behest of the incumbent president Bashar al Assad.
During the Geneva talks, diplomats will try and build on the delicate truce which came into effect during the end of February 2016. The truce has decreased the level of fighting in the country since it came into effect. Despite this positive development, expectations of a breakthrough in the Geneva talks are very low. John Kerry also met his French, German and British counterparts a day ahead of the scheduled talks.
A truce agreed by both the regime and the Syrian opposition was implemented late last month. The deal did not include the Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front – an affiliate of Al-Qaeda in Syria.
The partial truce was implemented in order to allow the different warring parties as well as their foreign sponsors to indulge into a new round of dialogues aimed at ending the Syrian crisis.
A new row has, however, begun after Mr. Muallem’s remarks that there will be no talks on the presidential election during the negotiations in Geneva. He emphasized his point by saying that this was an exclusive right of the people of Syria.
The main Syrian opposition group, the High Negotiations Committee or the HNC has declared that it is a conspiracy by the regime to sabotage the Geneva talks even before it had started.
The main Syrian opposition umbrella group, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said the pre-conditions could halt the talks before they had even started.
John Kerry stated on Sunday that the Syrian foreign minister was attempting to disrupt the peace talks. He further added that the regime’s allies, Iran and Russia had clearly supported a political transition and presidential elections in the future.
Jean-Marc Ayrault, the foreign minister of France said that the provocations by the regime did not bid well for the ceasefire.
The HNC stated on Sunday that it will propose for an interim government in which Bashar al Assad and the current regime figures will have no role at all.