The PJ Tatler

Assad, Opposition Agree: Geneva UN Talks a Failure

Congratulations to the UN meeting in Geneva for bringing the Syrian opposition and President Bashar Assad together. Both sides agree that the conference held in Geneva to work on a political transition plan for Syria is an abject failure.


Both official media and an opposition group on Sunday branded as a failure a world powers deal on a transition plan for Syria a day after at least 120 people were reported killed in violence nationwide.

World powers meeting in Geneva on Saturday agreed a transition plan that could include current regime members, but the West did not see any role for President Bashar al-Assad in a new unity government.

Russia and China insisted that Syrians themselves must decide how the transition happens, rather than allow others to dictate their fate.

Moscow and Beijing, which have twice blocked UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, both signed up to the final agreement that did not make any explicit call for Assad to cede power.

Official Syrian media and the opposition Local Coordination Committees (LCC) group demonstrated rare agreement in slamming the outcome.

The meeting “failed,” trumpeted Al-Baath, newspaper of the ruling party.

The LCC, which organises protests on the ground in Syria, said the outcome showed once again the failure to adopt a common position.

It called the transition accord “just one version, different in form only, of the demands of Russian leaders allied to the Assad regime and who cover it militarily and politically in the face of international pressure.”

Burhan Ghalioun, a senior member and former head of the SNC, told pan-Arab television Al-Arabiya that “this is the worst international statement yet to emerge from talks on Syria.”

The opposition won’t talk to the Assad regime as long as the dictator is in power. Assad refuses to discuss any plan that includes his ouster. This standoff has apparently gone unrecognized by the UN who continue to formulate plans that have as much chance of being adopted by the two sides as there is a possibility that the Chicago Cubs will win the World Series this year.

As for Russia, they continue to run interference for the Syrian regime in the international arena while refusing to lift a finger to stop the bloodshed (800 Syrians died just this past week). They will get away with it because, while Assad isn’t winning the civil war, he isn’t losing it either. There is no pressure for them to alter their position as long as Assad survives, or looks like he can hang on.

We are far from a tipping point for that to happen.

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