Damascus Peace Conference to Exclude Syrian National Council

Article Summary
Two Syrian opposition parties recently announced a conference scheduled for July 28 to discuss “a safe transfer of power,” writes Samar Ezmichli. All groups who believed in a peaceful resolution to the conflict are to attend, but the Syrian National Council was notably not invited.   

Two Syrian opposition parties, the Building the Syrian State (BSS) and the Syrian National Movement (SNM), announced on July 12 that a conference on saving the Syrian homeland will be held in Damascus on July 28th. The conference will develop an action plan and a clear road-map for the resolution of the Syrian crisis.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the SNM, which is led by Bassel Takieddine and the BSS, headed by Louay Hussein. After the signing of this agreement, Hussein stated that the conference would be open to all political forces and groups who want regime change to take place through peaceful means. He added that no military intervention would be allowed in Syria, and said that the BSS is communicating with many other political forces. One prominent exception is the Syrian National Council, which has not been invited. He also asserted that no party for peaceful and radical change could be vetoed from participating in the conference. The opposition figure said that the BSS had not gotten the Syrian authorities’ approval for the conference and that it will likely be held in a Damascus hotel.

Hussein explained that the BSS chose not to take part in the Syrian opposition conference in Cairo given that it operates inside of Syria. He stated that the opposition conference had to be held in Syria and added that the Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi should also convene a conference in Syria. In a communiqué issued by the BSS, Hussein stated that all political forces, civil society groups, youth groups, and public figures inside and outside of Syria who want to see radical change emerge through peaceful means were invited to the conference in Damascus.

According to the communiqué, the conference is tasked with developing an action plan and a clear and specific road-map to mitigate the risks and overcome the challenges regarding Syria’s future. The conference will seek to draw out a safe transfer of power that reflects the will of the Syrian people, and plan for a transitional phase that brings together and satisfies all parties. The conference will also broach the subject of returning displaced persons and reconstructing their homes.

The statement called UN envoy Kofi Annan’s mission the last chance to save the Syrian homeland. Hussein noted that Annan needs the help of the emerging civil and political organizations in the country to shape the future of Syria.

The statement noted that the international competition over Syria has become clear. Annan clearly expressed this fact a few days ago when he said that Syria is the biggest victim of the destructive competition between Russia and the West. Annan said that the countries supporting the peace plan and the UN resolution were working independent of each other. He stated that other countries have indeed been working together, but that this is mainly when it comes to supplying weapons to the various parties involved in the conflict.

Found in: takieddine, syrian national movement, syrian national council, syrian crisis, syrian, snm, conference, building the syrian state, bss

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