Syrian opposition rejects UN transition
Kofi Annan (R) Joint Special Envoy of the United
Nations and the Arab League for Syria speaks with
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and an
unidentified UN official before a dinner hosted by
the Swiss authorities after a meeting of the Action
Group for Syria at the European headquarters of the
United Nations in Geneva June 30, 2012. Photo:
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BEIRUT, — Syrian opposition groups on
Sunday rejected a U.N.-brokered peace plan for a
political transition in Syria, calling it ambiguous
and a waste of time and vowing not to negotiate with
President Bashar Assad or members of his "murderous"
regime, AP reported.
An international conference in Geneva on Saturday
accepted U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan's plan that
calls for the creation of a transitional government,
but at Russia's insistence the compromise agreement
left the door open to Syria's president being part
of the interim administration.
The U.S. backed away from insisting that the plan
should explicitly call for Assad to have no role in
a new Syrian government, hoping the concession would
encourage Russia to put greater pressure on its
longtime ally to end the violent crackdown that the
opposition says has claimed more than 14,000 lives.
Syrian opposition figures rejected any notion of
sharing in a transition with Assad.
"Every day I ask myself, do they not see how the
Syrian people are being slaughtered?" veteran Syrian
opposition figure Haitham Maleh asked. "It is a
catastrophe, the country has been destroyed, and
they want us then to sit with the killer?"
Maleh described the agreement reached in Geneva as a
waste of time and of "no value on the ground."
"They Syrian people are the ones who will decide the
battle on the ground, not those sitting in Geneva or
New York or anywhere else," he said by telephone
where opposition groups are to meet Monday.
Bassma Kodmani, a Paris-based spokesperson for
Syria's main opposition group, the Syrian National
Council, said the agreement is "ambiguous" and lacks
a mechanism or timetable for implementation.
"We cannot say that there is any positive outcome
today," she said. "The Syrians will not accept
engaging in any political track while the killing
There was no reaction from the Syrian regime to the
Annan plan, but Assad has repeatedly said his
government has a responsibility to eliminate
terrorists and will not accept any non-Syrian model
State-run newspaper Al-Thawra said Sunday "the
Syrians are the ones who can determine their
The U.N. plan calls for establishing a transitional
government of national unity, with full executive
powers, that could include members of Assad's
government and the opposition and other groups. It
would oversee the drafting of a new constitution and
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton insisted on
Saturday that Assad would still have to go, saying
it is now "incumbent on Russia and China to show
Assad the writing on the wall" and help force his
"There is a credible alternative to the Assad
regime," she said. "What we have done here is to
strip away the fiction that he and those with blood
on their hands can stay in power."
Annan was appointed the special envoy in February,
and in March he submitted a six-point peace plan
that he said the Assad regime accepted. It led to
the April 12 ceasefire that failed to hold. U.N.
observers sent to monitor the ceasefire suspended
their patrols in Syria on June 16 due to a spike in
violence and have been confined to their hotels
Moscow had refused to back a provision that would
call for Assad to step aside, insisting that
outsiders cannot order a political solution for
Syria and accusing the West of ignoring the darker
side of the Syrian opposition. The opposition has
made clear it would not take part in a government in
which Assad still held power.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underlined
that the plan does not require Assad's ouster,
saying there is "no attempt in the document to
impose on the Syrian people any type of transitional
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