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Syrian opposition insists Assad should go as past

January 24, 2014, 0:08 UTC+3 GENEVA
Ahmad al-Jarba said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had assured the Syrian opposition that Moscow was not holding on to Assad
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© EPA/SEDAT SUNA

GENEVA, January 23, 23:49 /ITAR-TASS/. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should go as his government is in the past, National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces leader Ahmad al-Jarba said at a press conference in Geneva on Thursday, January 23.

“We have started to look into the future without him. Assad and all of his regime is in the past now. Nobody should have any doubt that the head of the regime is finished. This regime is dead,” Jarba said, adding, “If Assad were able to rule Syria, we wouldn’t have been here today,” Jarba said.

He said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had assured the Syrian opposition that Moscow was not holding on to Assad and that Syrians themselves should decide the fate of their country.

“We met Lavrov in Paris last week and he confirmed to me that Russia is not holding on to Assad,” Jarba said.

He said Lavrov had told him the solution should be negotiated “between Syrians themselves through a political process.”

Jarba stressed that the Syrian opposition would give priority at the talks to the creation of a transitional government and warned that hard and long talks were ahead.

“This is the basis of our negotiations and we will demand it,” he said.

Jarba said that the Syrian opposition could end the talks in Geneva at any moment. “Our delegation will decide how long the talks will go. We are authorised to stop them at any moment,” he said.

Monzer Akbik, chief of staff in the Syrian National Coalition, said the inter-Syrian talks would begin on January 24 at about 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Both sides will meet at the same table.

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