Syria rejects federal structure as basis for peace

Syria rejects federal structure as basis for peace

Saturday, March 12, 2016 11:08 pm

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Saturday that his government would reject talks about the possible federalisation of Syria, stressing the unity of the country.

“As a Syrian citizen, I say we reject talks about a federal Syria and we are with the unity of Syria, as a territory and people,” the minister told a news conference in the capital Damascus.

“Our people will reject any attempt to divide Syria,” he added.

The minister’s remarks came a day after the United Nations envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said that the possibility of federalism for Syria has not been taken off the table for the upcoming peace talks in Geneva.

“All Syrians have rejected the division of Syria and federalism can be discussed at the negotiations,” de Mistura told Al Jazeera news network.

Regarding talks about a possible military intervention in Syria by Saudi Arabia, al-Moallem renewed his government stance that “no one dares to launch a military offensive in Syria.”

Meanwhile, the head of the Syrian diplomacy lashed out at Mistura, saying the UN envoy has no right to talk about the presidential election in Syria.

“The future of Syria is decided by the Syrian people,” the minister said, in response to Mistura’s remarks about an election in Syria within 18 months.

Regarding the upcoming Geneva talks, the top diplomat said his government looks forward to embark on talks with wider spectra of the Syrian opposition in the talks, which are slated for March 14.

“We are going to Geneva to make the dialogue a success, and this doesn’t rely on us solely, but on the other parties as well,” he stressed.

He, however, noted that if the opposition parties have “illusions that they would be handed over the leadership of Syria, they would fail.”

Regarding the recently-established cessation of hostilities in Syria, al-Moallem said his government was “committed to the cease-fire and we are still continuing that.”

The minister also pointed out to some violations to the truce by the armed militant groups, saying that the Syrian army has responded to some of those breaches.

“The right to respond is legitimate and cannot be regarded as a breach to the cessation of hostilities and that’s what our Armed Forces are doing,” he noted.

Al-Moallem also speculated that the Syrian crisis is drawing to an end, thanks to the national reconciliations and the ground progress of the Syrian army.

He urged the armed men to lay down their weapon and join the national reconciliation

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