Syrian regime demands opposition unity for talks

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Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari arrives for a meeting of Intra-Syria peace talks with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura at Palais des Nations in Geneva. (Reuters)

The Syrian government’s top envoy to Geneva peace talks says his side will meet face-to-face with the opposition only if its various factions come together in a “unified, patriotic opposition.”

Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, pressed home the government’s demand that the opposition denounce terrorism in the wake of deadly attacks against security offices in the central city of Homs earlier Saturday.

Speaking to reporters after a 2-1/2-hour meeting with the U.N. Syria envoy, al-Ja’afari said of the government delegation: “We do not have any pre-conditions.”

In comments translated from Arabic, he said: “We only have one condition, and that is that we can sit with one unified patriotic opposition that we can consider as a full partner – an opposition delegation that condemns.

Jaafari also demanded that the opposition delegation to denounce the attacks in the central city of Homs as terrorism, saying it is a test of their commitment to finding common ground.
He called them “act of political terrorism.” The attacks were claimed by al-Qaeda-linked coalition in Syria.

Jaafari said the condemnation wouldn’t bring back lives, but that it would be a “test” to the opposition to prove it is a moderate one. He says those who refuse to condemn the attacks will be considered partners in terrorism, not talks.

Source: AP

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