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Syria’s opposition says may take part in Geneva conference

May 25, 2013, 0:31 UTC+3

He indicated that debates on participation in the Geneva talks are in full swing now and a final decision may be taken Sunday

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ANKARA, May 25 (Itar-Tass) - National Coalition for Syrian Opposition and Revolutionary Forces is ready to take part in the Geneva-2 talks on resolving the conflict in Syria but it puts forward certain conditions, Haled Hojja, a representative of the coalitions participating in a conference of irreconcilable oppositionists in Istanbul said.

He indicated that debates on participation in the Geneva talks are in full swing now and a final decision may be taken Sunday.

It is too early yet to speak about the prevalence of one or another opinion in the opposition, as discussions of the issue continue, Hojja said, adding that the Coalition remains strong its denial of any opportunity of talks with President Bashar al-Assad or anyone from the circle of his closest associates.

Some members of the opposition refuse even to discuss the very prospects of going to Geneva if any representatives of the Assad Administration attend the conference.

Earlier reports suggested that the Syrian government had given consent to taking part in the Geneva-2 conference, the initiative of which came from Russia and the U.S. that seek to put all the parties to the Syrian conflict to the table of negotiations.

Along with it, a spokeswoman for the coalition told Itar-Tass that participation of both coalition and Assad’s representatives in the Geneva-2 talks is possible in principle. She said the oppositionists are aware of the fact that the opposite side has its own conditions, too.

The spokeswoman reiterated that the coalition has not come at a final decision yet on whether or not it will take part in the talks.

In the meantime, some notable oppositionists have made it clear that the suspension of armed actions on the part of the Syrian government forces and withdrawal of troops from the urban areas might be one of the conditions.

Whether or not the coalition representatives go to Geneva will depend on the fulfillment of its demands by the other side, the spokeswoman indicated.

Thursday, Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil who leads the Popular Front for Change and Liberation, clarified the position of the Syrian authorities saying they will take the final decision on participation in the Geneva-2 conference when they get a full picture of the conference agenda.

“The Popular Front is ready to take part in this conference,” he told Itar-Tass by telephone. “The Syrian government is examining the situation and it will take the final decision when there is full clarity as regards the agenda.”

“I feel like all the parties are prepared to participate,” he said. “That’s my opinion.”

Jamil did not specify whether he had in mind other opposition groupings. He personally plans to represent the Popular Front in Geneva.

The Popular Front for Change and Liberation is a coalition of moderate opposition forces. It took part in the 2012 parliamentary election and has seats in the People’s Council of Syria.

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