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Geneva II must achieve peaceful solution

The Syrian government, the Syrian opposition and the world must take advantage of the opportunities afforded by Geneva II to bring peace to Syria.
Lakhdar Brahimi (C), the U.N. envoy on Syria, speaks with members of the French delegation prior to a meeting at the United Nations offices in Geneva December 20, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrice Coffrini/Pool (SWITZERLAND - Tags: POLITICS) - RTX16PMV

During the next two weeks, before the Geneva II conference on Syria, the United Nations secretary-general and special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi are expected to successfully manage a growing complexity. This is because Syria’s government, on the one hand, treats all opposition as terrorists, while the opposition, on the other hand, is having a great deal of difficulty organizing its negotiating team and is still the prisoner of indecision, albeit one recently succeeding in defeating and purging some intruding jihadists.

It's hoped that in the next few days, prior to the Jan. 22 meeting, many of the hurdles will be overcome, and that the opposition will be moving toward a coherent team able to be predisposed to reconcile. It also is hoped that the government, in turn, will be ready to negotiate with the objective of achieving political reconciliation.

In this respect, the Syrian government position should not treat all the opposition as terrorists, as indicated by the minister of information at a news conference Jan. 7; nor should the opposition insist that it is either it or the Assad regime.

It seems that the overall context of regional power differences — such as the perceived polarity between Saudi Arabia and Iran — could converge into expediting a belated, peaceful solution for the Syrian tragedy, thus giving the opportunity for the Syrian people, both the government and the opposition, not only to achieve a credible and effective transition, but to jointly expedite the return of refugees and the reconstruction of many cities, towns and villages.

It is therefore vital that Geneva II achieve a peaceful resolution that has eluded Syria for the last three years; if the outcome is what we hope for, then the impact on the region as a whole will help heal many of the political, economic and human wounds that have been inflicted on the peoples of the region.

The Geneva II conference might not only resolve the Syrian situation, but could help deter the further escalation of conflicts in Iraq and calm the growing tensions in Lebanon.

In other words, the next two weeks must enable the UN and the regional powers concerned to achieve a reasonable and rational outcome and to make sure they emphasize a common ground in solving Syria’s crisis, which in turn would allow them to help reconcile their regional differences and help heal the sectarian divide.

Geneva II has to succeed and every effort in the international community should be utilized to achieve a successful and desirable outcome that has eluded us for many years. This is not only our hope, but it is doable.

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