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Geneva II likely to be held Nov 23-24: Syrian deputy PM

Geneva II likely to be held Nov 23-24: Syrian deputy PM

Moscow: The Geneva II conference on resolving the Syrian conflict will be held tentatively Nov 23-24, Syria's Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said Thursday.

“On November 23-24,” he said at a media meet here in response to a question about the possible rescheduling of the conference to late November or early December this year.

Stating that Syria was now closer than ever to the Geneva II conference, Jamil said that representatives of the main political opposition and the authorities will come to Geneva for the conference.

“There is no other way out than convening the conference. Chances are high that the conference will take place,” he emphasised.

Jamil expressed the hope that the Syrian National Council (SNC), the biggest opposition coalition in the strife-torn nation, would change its mind about not participating in Geneva II.

The SNC had in July this year said that it would not take part in Geneva II given the current atmosphere in the country

“They (SNC) will soon change their minds,” Jamil said.

The opponents of Geneva II will end up outside the political process in Syria, according to the deputy prime minister.

“There is no other way out, nobody has proposed an alternative,” he said.

“In the current deadlock, this is a way out both from the military and political viewpoints - a way out for all - for Russia, which is playing a big role in the forum’s organisation, for the Americans, Syrian authorities and opposition. Those who fail to understand this will end up outside the political process.”

Jamil said that the tentative dates for the Geneva II conference were discussed at a meeting in the Russian foreign ministry Thursday.

“Regardless of whether this conference is held within the expected timeframe, Geneva 2 is a platform for dialogue and mutual understanding,” he said.

He also said that the main objective of the conference was to create a coalition government that would reflect the real balance of forces in Syria.

“The government should be established on a consensus basis and reflect the proportion of Syria’s various political forces. The scope of authority of the government, the president’s scope of authority are to be determined in Geneva,” he added, when asked how he saw the country’s new government that is planned to be created within the conference framework.

Jamil said that the path to the formation of a coalition government and subsequent elections would be a democratic way out of the current crisis.

At the same time, the support to only one side, as some Western countries do, would lead to the establishment of a one-party dictatorship or the power of religious extremists.

“We in Syria have abolished the article of the constitution which establishes the primacy of one political force, party in public life. I am surprised that the West, which usually calls for freedom and democracy, is currently contributing, in fact, to the establishment of a one-party system in Syria,” Jamil added.

The Geneva I conference to resolve the Syrian conflict was held in June 2012.

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