Syrian opposition sees window for political solution in Syria

Nasr al-Hariri, the Syrian opposition's chief negotiator, said Syria now has a good opportunity to reach a political solution. (File photo/AFP)
Updated 19 January 2019
0

Syrian opposition sees window for political solution in Syria

RIYADH: Syria now has a good opportunity to reach a political solution to its devastating eight-year war as cease-fires have brought calm to many areas of the country, Syria’s chief opposition negotiator said on Saturday.
“I think now that we have an opportunity, because nearly in Syria we have a cease-fire now, in the northeast of Syria and the north of Syria, and the efforts of fighting terrorism has achieved good results,” Nasr Hariri told Reuters in an interview in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, where he is based.
Hariri, the opposition’s chief negotiator in UN peace talks, met with the newly appointed United Nations Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen on Friday.
“Now it is time to invest all of these developments: the cease-fire, fighting terrorism, the belief of the majority of the Syrian people that the only solution to the Syrian crisis is the political solution,” Hariri added.
In December, Russia, Iran and Turkey — supporters of the main sides in Syria’s complex civil war — failed to agree on the makeup of a UN-sponsored Syrian Constitutional Committee but called for it to convene early next year to kick off a viable peace process.
Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose forces have reclaimed most of Syria with Russian and Iranian support apart from the northern province of Idlib, has clung to power throughout the conflict and is widely seen as being loath to yield power after it ends.
Arab states, including some that once backed rebels against Assad, are seeking to reconcile with him after decisive gains by his forces in the war, aiming to expand their influence in Syria at the expense of non-Arab Turkey and Iran.
“All the countries... Turkey, to some extent Russia and the Arab countries believe ... that without a political solution, the normalization with the (Assad) regime would be impossible,” Hariri said.


Egypt to host African summits Tuesday on Sudan, Libya

Updated 22 April 2019
0

Egypt to host African summits Tuesday on Sudan, Libya

  • The leaders will focus on “the evolution of the situation in Sudan” where protests continue after the military toppled president Omar Al-Bashir
  • The planned summits are the first to be convened by African leaders on the current crises in Sudan and Libya

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will lead two emergency summits with other African leaders on Tuesday to address events in Sudan and Libya, his presidency said.
The leaders will focus on “the evolution of the situation in Sudan” where protests continue after the military toppled president Omar Al-Bashir.
They will also seek to “stem the current crisis” in Libya, where commander Khalifa Haftar is leading an offensive on Tripoli, Egypt’s presidency said in a statement.
El-Sisi is also the current president of the African Union.
He will receive the Chadian president Idriss Deby, Rwanda’s head of state Paul Kagame, Congo’s Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Somalia’s Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa as well as Dijbouti’s leader Ismail Omar Guelleh.
The planned summits are the first to be convened by African leaders on the current crises in Sudan and Libya.
For Sudan, the objective “is to discuss ... the most appropriate ways to address the evolution of the situation and to contribute to stability and peace,” Egypt’s presidency said.
The AU on April 15 threatened to suspend Sudan if the military does not hand over power within 15 days of that date to a civilian authority.
President of the African Union commission Moussa Faki is also expected to participate in the discussions, along with officials from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Nigeria.
Another summit on Libya, which will bring together the leaders of Rwanda, South Africa and the Congo with El-Sisi, will focus on “relaunching a political process... (and) the elimination of terrorism,” Egypt’s presidency said.
Strongman Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an offensive against Tripoli, the seat of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord, on April 4.
Egypt is a strong ally of Haftar, who is also backed by the UAE and — according to the White House — was consulted by US President Donald Trump in a phone call last week.