Syrian Opposition to Reveal Transition Plan Next Week

Syria's opposition plans to unveil its plans for a political transition to help end the country's five-year war at a meeting of ministers in London next week, a delegate said.

By Tom Miles

GENEVA, Sept 1  – Syria’s opposition plans to unveil its plans for a political transition to help end the country’s five-year war at a meeting of ministers in London next week, a delegate said.

In emailed comments to Reuters, Hind Kabawat, a member of Syria’s main opposition group, the High Negotiations Committee, said the delegation would give a detailed vision for Syria.

This would include the formation of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, she said.

Other details would include the length of the transition period, a mechanism to ensure fair representation of minorities and plans for the reform and reconstitution of state institutions, Kabawat said.

Syria’s war shows little sign of stopping after five and a half years in which up to 400,000 have died and half of Syria’s population has been uprooted.

The formation of a transitional governing body has been a key area of disagreement in the stalled U.N.-mediated peace talks, since it implies an end to the monopoly on power enjoyed by President Bashar al-Assad.

Although a political transition, including elections and a new constitution, was agreed in a U.N. Security Council resolution, Assad’s government has said his future is not up for discussion, but has proposed the establishment of a national unity government by consensus.

The opposition says Assad and his closest allies can have no role in Syria’s future.

A huge resurgence of violence means peace talks in Geneva have been on hold since the end of April, and U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura has repeatedly said that Syria needs a halt in the fighting before talks can resume.

Kabawat said the opposition would press foreign ministers in London to take the steps needed to restore the diplomatic process, and to hold Assad’s government accountable for the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

“The reality is the international community is failing Syrian civilians, most recently in Aleppo, Daraya, and Moadamiya; where we have seen no real steps will to protect civilians or break the sieges,” she said.

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