Kerry & Jarba Differ on Geneva 2

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said at the end of his meetings with his Saudi counterpart, Saud Al-Faisal, today that  “The purpose of the collection of states in Geneva 2 is to implement Geneva 1,” adding that: “The United States’ position is clear regarding supporting the Syrian Coalition, the Syrian transitional phase, and Geneva 2”.

Kerry praised the decision of the Council of the Arab League, which was released yesterday, which supports the convening of Geneva 2, pointing out that Washington appreciates the leadership of Saudi Arabia for its support of the Syrian Coalition. Kerry spoke about President Obama’s insistence on the use of what he could of force to resolve the region’s problems. For his part, Saud Faisal, Saudi’s Foreign Minister, agreed during the meeting with Kerry that Bashar Assad is not included in the solution and that he has no role to play according to Geneva 2, and that the Syrian Coalition is the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Faisal suggested there is disagreement with Kerry on tactics to reach a transitional phase in Syria. Ahmad Jarba, head of the Syrian Coalition, had announced his rejection of Geneva 2 “if the international community could not apply the Geneva 1 principles that include the transfer of power in all its institutions, and if it cannot open safe corridors to save the Syrians.” Jarba added that “the Syrian people facing the mullahs’ regime and we are resisting ruthless occupation,” Jarba revealed that the Syrian Coalition refuses the presence of Iran at the Geneva 2 Conference. This came during a speech by the head of the Syrian Coalition at the beginning of the emergency meeting of the Arab League Council on Syria in Cairo yesterday. Jarba said that the Syrian Coalition had made a decision not to enter the “Geneva 2 Conference, unless there were assurances of its success as a process of transfer of power with all its components and its institutions and organs, under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations. Accordingly, no to Geneva 2 without clarity in this goal, coupled with a specified timetable.” Jarba asked for “support for the Syrian Coalition’s approach aimed at the success of Geneva 2 and the prevention of the Assad regime’s manipulations with the blood of the Syrians and the security of the region and the saving of the rest of what remains of the international community’s face through the following demands:

1.Announcing that Iran is occupying Syria and demanding the withdrawal of its Revolutionary Guards from Syrian territory before taking measures to boycott Iran.

2.Acknowledging that militant Hezbollah militias and Abu al-Fadl Abbas are entering Syria from Iraq as terrorist organizations.

3.Holding the permanent members of the UN Security Council accountable for their responsibilities through the establishment of an Arab delegation that raises these decisions and calls for adopting them internationally since Syria is a member state of the United Nations and is currently subject to a blatant occupation.

4.Providing an Arabic umbrella under which the Coalition can attend Geneva 2 that is integrated with the Turkish role.   Jarba demanded “a clear decision to supply the Syrian people with weapons to confront the occupation and the regime’s aggression which is getting fiercer hour after hour” and added that in principle the Syrian Coalition is willing “to provide all the guarantees that weapons will not get into the wrong hands.” After a meeting in Cairo yesterday the Arab League Council issued a resolution confirming the “Arab position in support of the Syrian Coalition and emphasized on the Arab position that demands the need for the availability of international guarantees necessary for sponsoring and ensuring the success of the path of a peaceful solution, for Geneva 2 in order to reach an agreement on the formation of a transitional ruling body with full executive powers, according to a statement issued in Geneva June 30th, 2012 . The resolution also called upon all parties of “the Syrian opposition” to respond to efforts to convene a Geneva 2 conference and to accelerate the formation of its delegation negotiating team headed by the National Coalition for the Forces of the Revolution and the Syrian Opposition to participate in this conference.” In addition, the resolution stressed that the following elements are an ultimate goal of the negotiating process and of the path of the negotiated solution in Geneva pursuant to the communique of Geneva 1, the elements are: The formation of a transitional government with full executive powers, including authority over the armed forces and security apparatuses according to a specific time frame agreed on by all parties, and to reach a democratic political system, a  pluralistic system based on the equality of rights and the rule of law and non-discrimination among citizens according to sect or ethnicity, religion or language, a system in which power is circulated peacefully, democratically and pluralistically.  The transitional phase must include drafting a new constitution approved by referendum so that it ends with conducting parliamentary and presidential elections under this Constitution. The resolution also focused on the adoption of the outcome of the Geneva 2 Conference by the Security Council and a commitment to working on implementing it as well as adopting deterrent measures against anyone who tries to impede the implementation of its provisions. (Source: Syrian Coalition)