Washington: The Geneva talks on Syria would resume if President Bashar al-Assad agrees to discuss a transitional government and postpone the upcoming presidential elections, the White House said today.
“On the matter of the Geneva talks, they are certainly on hold. Resuming the talks and starting a third round of negotiations is dependent upon the Assad regime agreeing to discuss, among other issues, a transitional governing body with full executive powers, as cited in the Geneva communique,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference.
The Assad regime, he alleged, refused to do so in the first two rounds of the talks. “That has to be the first item on the agenda,” he asserted.
“But the regime also needs to postpone its upcoming presidential elections, which represent a sham, democratically, and are entirely inconsistent with the Geneva communique’s call for the establishment of a transitional governing body,” the White House Press Secretary claimed.
Carney said the Assad regime alone is responsible for the talks’ lack of progress thus far.
Its refusal to engage seriously in negotiations based on the Geneva communique has stalled progress, whereas the Syrian Opposition Coalition accepted the Geneva communique as the basis for negotiations and conducted itself in accordance with the communique’s provisions during those talks, he said.
“So that is our view on the process. It is still very much our view that there must be a negotiated political settlement to this conflict and that that has to include a transitional governing body,” he said in response to a question.
The United States, he said, deeply appreciates Joint Special Representative (Lakhdar) Brahimi’s tireless efforts to work towards a lasting peace in Syria and is grateful for his leadership and his counsel.
Brahimi resigned today as the UN and Arab League mediator for Syria.
“We look forward to the appointment of his successor (by the UN),” he added.
The Obama Administration, he said, is constantly working with its partners, including the Syrian opposition, in an effort to assist the Syrian people, assist the Syrian opposition and press forward towards a negotiated political settlement.
“There is no question that this conflict has gone on far too long and has cost far too many lives. The responsibility for that is unquestionably with Syrian President Assad and his regime that has engaged in a conflict against its own people with horrific brutality,” he said.
“We will continue to work with our partners in the opposition, continue to provide assistance, step up that assistance where we can and it’s appropriate,” Carney said.
Later in the day, the Syrian Opposition leader would meet the National Security Advisor at the White House.
“In the end, the course of this conflict on the battlefield will inevitably result in no permanent outcome, will not result in Assad ever controlling Syria as it used to exist and in the manner that he used to control it.
There is no alternative, ultimately, when it comes to resolving this conflict, to a negotiated political settlement.
And that’s what we’re going to continue to press for,” he said.