News / Middle East

Syrian Opposition Rejects UN Transition Deal

From left: Members of Syrian National Council - Ahmed Ramadan, Bassma Kodmani, Abdulbaset Seida and Imad Aldeen Rashid in Istanbul, Turkey (file photo)From left: Members of Syrian National Council - Ahmed Ramadan, Bassma Kodmani, Abdulbaset Seida and Imad Aldeen Rashid in Istanbul, Turkey (file photo)
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From left: Members of Syrian National Council - Ahmed Ramadan, Bassma Kodmani, Abdulbaset Seida and Imad Aldeen Rashid in Istanbul, Turkey (file photo)
From left: Members of Syrian National Council - Ahmed Ramadan, Bassma Kodmani, Abdulbaset Seida and Imad Aldeen Rashid in Istanbul, Turkey (file photo)
VOA News
Syrian opposition groups have rejected a United Nations-backed plan for a political transition in Syria, calling it "ambiguous" and "a farce" while ruling out any possibility of sharing power with President Bashar al-Assad.

A Paris-based Syrian National Council spokeswoman, Bassma Kodmani, said Sunday that Syrians "will not accept engaging in any political track while the killing continues."

Dozens of civilians were reportedly killed the day before, including at least 30 when a powerful explosion hit a funeral procession in a suburb of the capital, Damascus. Activists blamed government forces for the blast.

The conflict is threatening to spill across borders after Syria shot down a warplane from neighboring Turkey, which responded by setting up anti-aircraft guns along the frontier. Turkey said Sunday it scrambled fighter jets to its border after Syrian helicopters flew too close to the frontier.

An international conference in Geneva on Saturday accepted a watered down version of U.N. envoy Kofi Annan's plan for the creation of a transitional government in Syria. But at Russia's insistence the compromise agreement left the door open to Assad being part of the interim administration.

Rafif Jouejati, a spokeswoman for the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group with members throughout Syria, called the Geneva meeting a step backwards.

"Kofi Annan said he [wants] to give this plan another year, and to us that's tantamount to giving the Assad regime a full year to continue the killing with zero consequences," said Jouejati. "The plan has no teeth and is simply a reiteration of the Kofi Annan peace plan version one."

The wording of a final communique from the meeting calls for "clear and irreversible" steps toward a political transition. It says a transitional body must be formed through "mutual consent," and could include current members of the government.

Jouejati told VOA the mutual consent clause shows Annan has "absolutely no perception of the reality on the ground."

She said the current plan needs to be reworked into one "that has consequences for...the amount of killing that is taking place" and must include an "enforcement mechanism" to deal with Assad's "failure to comply with a single tenet" in [Annan's] six-point plan.

Burhan Ghalioun, a senior SNC member and the group's former head, told pan-Arab Al-Arabiya television that "this is the worst international statement yet to emerge from talks on Syria." According to the SNC's official Facebook page, he described as a "mockery" the notion that Syrians should negotiate with "their executioner, who has not stopped killing, torturing...and raping women for 16 months."

The Geneva deal was forged amid deep divisions between Western and Arab countries and China and Russia on how to end the violence.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sunday that Assad must abdicate power.

His U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has also insisted Assad cannot be a part of Syria’s future, saying it is now "incumbent on Russia and China to show Assad the writing on the wall.''

Moscow and Beijing had refused to back a provision that would call for Assad to step aside, with Russia insisting that outsiders cannot order a political solution for Syria.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the plan does not require the Syrian president leave power, saying there is “no attempt in the document to impose on the Syrian people any type of transitional process.''

Earlier in the meeting Annan warned the participants - the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and envoys from Arab countries - that if they failed to act, they could face an international crisis of "grave severity.''


Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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by: George from: New York City
July 02, 2012 1:46 PM
This is a smoking mirror where Russia wants to misguide the negotiations and buy time for Assad. Why should we trust the Russians with peace making when their only agenda is selling blood money weapons and keeping Assad in power. Look at what they and China did in Libya. Can we trust them as a real partner of peace when they treat all opposition groups in Russia as terrorists? If the Russians are truly sincere than they must show an act of real courage and stand against Assad and declare that they are not going to support him. Pull all Russian troops and mercenaries out of Syria now!

In Response

by: Sergey from: Russia
July 03, 2012 4:59 AM
It is a simple decission to talk about all bad Russian this offensive way and to sit somewhere in New York City in a very comfortable room at the moment.I do not like Assad but simpathize usual people which right now lost their houses,income and have no perspectives same as in Libia,bombed by NATO.Chaos never bring prosperity,look into historic perspective,please.Our poor people know it not from others but on own experiance especially during last years.


by: Sergey from: Russia
July 02, 2012 12:27 PM
It is a very easy to blame Assad on all Syrian suffers from aside,but I would nobody wish to be in the situation of regular way of life demolishing when you never know about tomorrow.Stability and mature attitude may bring people understanding how to solve their problems


by: HOANG from: JUN
July 02, 2012 12:53 AM
Because the rebels have rejected UN resolution, there should be no part for them in the transitional government.


by: Spongebob1966 from: Edmonton, Canada
July 01, 2012 11:36 PM
Perhaps someone needs to tell the opposition that the UN Security Council and Annan is supposed to be trying to get both sides to reach a truce. To save civilians lives and bring Syria back to stability. Not a backing for their rebellion against the Syrian government, with obviously not enough support in Syria to accomplish this on their own.


by: peggy newton from: boothbay harbor, maine
July 01, 2012 9:52 PM
This is such a direct slap in the face to the Syrian people! What a sick, sick joke! SHAME on us. Are we chicken manure!???? It's wise that this forum asks to choose my words appropriately..... . Thank God! I still have a voice to speak for others as well.


by: Jethro Bodine from: USA
July 01, 2012 1:02 PM
I am not surprised that the SNC terrorists have rejected another UN cease fire plan as the terrorists have either rejected all previous calls for a cease fire as well. The Al Qaeda backed SNC terrorists want to eliminate the secular Syrian government and replace it with an Islamic theocracy, so of course they do not want to share power as their plan would be foiled.

Assad should tell civilians to clear out and then give the green light for the Syrian defense forces to move in and wipe out the terrorists once and for all.


by: Nikos Retsos from: USA
July 01, 2012 12:07 PM
What transition deal? There was none! The Russian way of a transition in Syria that allows Assad to turn his coat inside out and stays in power is not a transition at all. The civil war in Syria is about demolishing the Assad Dynasty, not about forming a cosmetic coalition government to save his regime. It is time for the West to form a protected free refugee zone in the north of Syria, and pile up help for rebels there until the Assad Dynasty become a footnote in Syria's history! Nikos Retsos, retired professor


by: robert e morrison from: northbrook, il
July 01, 2012 12:07 PM
The russians are essentially right in their views. The western world takes this "moralistic" attitude re Syria but as such simply do not have a moral or legal right to tell another country how they should run their country or that their leaders should step down, or that the western world should overthrow their country.

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