January 17, 2014 10:38
Syrian National Coordination Committee denies its refusal to attend Geneva II
MOSCOW. Jan 17 (Interfax) - The leader of a major Syrian opposition force, National Coordination Committee Chairman Hassan Abdel Azim, has refuted the Committee's alleged plans to boycott the Geneva II international peace conference for Syria.
In contradiction to the earlier reports of world news agencies, he told the Voice of Russia radio that the Committee actually supported Geneva II as the only chance to save Syria from war and devastation but it believed that appropriate conditions had yet to be created for the conference and proposed that it be delayed for a week or two. If a conference is still held without regard for the Committee's request, it will be a mere formality and no breakthroughs will be made, he said. Abdel Azim added that the Committee did not boycott the Geneva II initiative but fully supported it and just needed some more time.
Less than a week is left before January 22, and opposition forces, primarily, the National Coalition, have not decided on their attendance of this event, Abdel Azim said.
Even if they decide to go, more time will be required for fine-tuning the positions of all opposition groups that agree to the peace talks, he said.
Abdel Azim proposed that a coordination meeting be held in Cairo or elsewhere.
The opposition leader predicted at the same time that the National Coalition might be divided over the attendance of Geneva II at the January 17 meeting.
The moderate opposition leader, who lives in Damascus, thinks it would be impermissible for the emigre National Coalition to lead a common delegation of the opposition to the conference.
A single opposition delegation should have a neutral name and unite various groups, including the National Coordination Committee, Abdel Azim said.
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