KNC Delegation Meets Brahimi in Damascus

24/10/2012 RUDAW – By ADIB ABDULMAJID – AMSTERDAM – On Oct. 22, a delegation from the Kurdish National Council (KNC) met with Lakhdar Brahimi, international peace envoy to Syria, in Damascus.

According to the delegation, Brahimi emphasized the importance of the participation of all the different factions of the opposition in the process of finding a solution for the ongoing crisis in Syria. He considered the KNC meeting a step forward as it represented a dialogue with the largest non-Arab ethnic group in the country.  Immediately after the meeting, the KNC delegation, led by the head of its executive bureau, Faisal Yusuf, issued a statement which said that they had conveyed their views on the developments in Syria and even proposed a political solution to the crisis during the meeting with Brahimi. “In order to start a political process and to put an end to the escalating violence in Syria, the bloodshed of the Syrian people must stop and there must be a commitment to ceasefire, especially from the regime which has led a brutal crackdown against civilians since the first days of the uprising,” the statement read. The statement also insisted on the importance of compensating citizens who have been displaced due to the violence sweeping their areas, and that their safety should be internationally guaranteed so that they are able to return to their cities and villages.

“An immediate release of all political detainees in the regime’s prisons must also be implemented, and authorities have to reveal the fate of all the Syrians who have gone missing since the beginning of the uprising,” the KNC delegation told Brahimi. They added that only then can a comprehensive political solution be possible “through a transitional phase that ends up accomplishing the demands and ambitions of the Syrian people for which they launched this revolution and sacrificed themselves.”The delegation also proposed its vision on the future Syrian state: “The establishment of a democratic parliamentary system will be needed in the new Syria, under a pluralistic, multiethnic and decentralized rule which recognizes the national rights of the Kurdish people according to international conventions and agreements, and acknowledges these rights in a new constitution, along with the rights of the other religious and ethnic components of Syrian society.”

Moreover, the Kurdish delegation demanded compensation for the chauvinistic policies applied against Kurds and their areas over decades of Baath Party rule. Although its agenda is basically approved by all its members, KNC’s meeting with Brahimi was criticized by some council members who claimed that they weren’t informed about it. Hassan Ismail, a member of the KNC, expressed surprise about the meeting which, according to him, was held “under the oversight of the government’s security forces” in the Meridian Hotel (where Brahimi is based) and according to a “specified time and place.”  “We all know that the regime is aware of all the movements of its opponents and activists, which raises suspicions about this meeting because it was directly or indirectly sponsored by the regime,” Ismail said.

Kurdish writer and activist Mustafa Ismail accused the KNC of being subjected to the partisan mentality of its leaders.“Some parties are controlling the agenda and activities of the KNC, and they are leading it according to what suits their narrow views, while they marginalize the independent members and representatives of the youth movements in the council,” Ismail wrote on Monday.

Two members of the KNC, Dilshad Ayo and Khalid Muhammad, issued a statement on Tuesday accusing the leadership of misleading the council and taking unilateral decisions in its name –in reference to the delegation’s meeting with Brahimi in Damascus. The sharp-toned statement by Ayo and Muhammad invalidated the meeting and its results, and considered the step taken by the leadership irresponsible. They denied any responsibility for the consequences of the meeting “since it wasn’t agreed on by all members.”