Syrian opposition presents plan for post-war Syria
GENEVA - Reuters
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad gestures as he talks to journalists after a meeting with the Syrian opposition at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Switzerland, Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014. AP PhotoThe Syrian opposition called on Wednesday for a transitional governing body to be set up that would oversee a total ceasefire under U.N. monitoring, and be empowered to drive out foreign fighters deployed on both sides of the civil war.
The confidential paper, seen by Reuters, was presented to international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi and a Syrian government delegation at a joint session held at peace talks in Geneva.
It made no mention of the fate of President Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but opposition forces said that he had been ignored on purpose to make clear he had no role.
The Syrian government delegation said on Wednesday that negotiations must focus first on fighting terrorism and rejected parallel track talks on the opposition's priority of a transitional government as a "fruitless" idea.
"The Transitional Governing Body (TGB) will prepare and oversee a total ceasefire by taking immediate measures to stop military violence, protect civilians and stabilise the country in the presence of U.N. observers," the five-page document said.
It calls on all parties to "cooperate with the TGB in stopping the violence including the complete withdrawal of troops and tackling the issue of decommissioning the weapons of armed groups and demobilizing its members or integrating them into the army or civil public sectors".
The Damascus delegation did not reply to the proposal, opposition spokesman Louay Safi told reporters. "At this point we have not heard any response...I would like to hear some positive response."
Syria ready to talk to opposition eviction of foreign fighters: minister
The Syrian government is willing to discuss at peace talks an opposition proposal to evict foreign fighters from the country, a deputy minister told Reuters on Wednesday, signalling a rare sign of accord between the warring foes.
The Syrian opposition called earlier for a transitional governing body to be set up that would oversee a total ceasefire under U.N. monitoring and be empowered to drive out foreign fighters deployed on both sides of the war.
When asked if the government would negotiate on the proposal's point regarding foreign fighters, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said: "Of course ... We are not closed to discussing any issue. But we have to discuss them one by one.