Friends of Syria agree no future for al-Assad and family

Friends of Syria agree no future for al-Assad and family

PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Friends of Syria agree no future for al-Assad and family

Syrian National Coalition Chief Ahmad al-Jarba, poses for photographers prior to a meeting at the foreign ministry in Paris, Jan. 12. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Turkish Foreign Affairs minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, are seen in the background.

Ahmad Jarba, the leader of Syria's opposition National Coalition, said Jan. 12 that the U.S.-led "Friends of Syria" grouping had agreed that President Bashar al-Assad and his family will have no role in the country's future.

Jarba did not announce whether or not the opposition would take part in peace talks with representatives of al-Assad's regime due to start next week in Switzerland. The Coalition, which is under intense pressure to confirm its participation, has said it will decide on the issue on January 17.

"We are at a crossroads today in the framework of international decisions regarding the Syrian revolution," Jarba said. "We have passed a milestone on the way to the end of the regime."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius implicitly acknowledged that it was still uncertain that the opposition would be represented at the so-called Geneva II peace talks scheduled to start on January 22 in Montreux.

"It is important that the Geneva II meeting takes place and succeeds," Fabius said. "The only solution to the Syrian drama is a political solution." In a statement issued at the end of the talks, the 11-nation Friends of Syria urged the opposition to respond positively to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's invitation to send a delegation to the Montreux talks.