Riad Hijab Meets German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier

BERLIN, January 13, 2016 / PRNewswire — Following his meeting with the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on Wednesday 13 January 2016, former Syrian Prime Minister – General Coordinator of the Supreme Commission for Negotiations, Dr. Riad Hijab, affirmed the opposition’s readiness to:  participate in the political process leading to the establishment of a transitional governing body with full executive authority, the establishment of a pluralistic system which is representative and inclusive of all Syrian people; Bashar al-Assad and his regime will not be part of any future political arrangements. 

Riad Hijab meets German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160113/321782 )

The visit comes as part of efforts by the Supreme Commission for Negotiations to consult with Syria’s friends on the most effective ways to contribute to the political process and to finalise necessary arrangements for the start of the negotiations.  Dr. Hijab reviewed with the German Foreign Minister the preparations by the Supreme Commission for Negotiations in this context, as well as, the outcome of meetings between the Supreme Commission for Negotiations and UN Special Envoy to Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura.

Dr. Hijab added: “I stressed to Dr. Steinmeier the need for securing the right conditions for the start of negotiations, and in particular:  pressing foreign forces in Syria to a ceasefire and committing to articles (12) and (13) of UNSCR 2254, including lifting the siege imposed on cities to enable humanitarian agencies to deliver aid to all those in need, the release of all detainees, ceasing aerial shelling and artillery attacks against civilians and civilian targets, followed by other good will and confidence-building measures.”

Dr. Hijab confirmed that the Supreme Commission for Negotiations believes in the need to separate the humanitarian track which all parties must unconditionally adhere to in accordance with binding UN resolutions, and the political track, which must be pursued by convincing the regime’s allies to cease combat and withdraw foreign militias and mercenaries in urgent adherence to international law which prohibits bombing populated areas. This is no longer in the hands of the regime as it has lost its sovereign decision-making ability, and hence, it is futile to negotiate with its representatives.

Dr. Hijab added: “I expressed my doubts to Dr. Steinmeier of the feasibility of negotiating with a regime that has lost its sovereignty, its presence has diminished to 18 percent of the Syrian territory, it has lost control of most border crossings and supply and transportation routes, and half of the Syrian population lives outside its control; all this, while foreign forces and cross-border militias fight on its behalf.”  Dr. Hijab reiterated the need for the international community’s support in reaching an agreement with the various regional and international parties for a cease-fire, and for the delivery of aid to affected areas, where some five million Syrian refugees take shelter in neighbouring countries, and about 6 million Syrians are displaced living in areas outside the control of the regime.

The regime’s targeting of civilians with barrel bombs and systematic shelling has led to the draining of the country’s population and forcing many to migrate to a number of countries, but predominately towards Europe.  This only serves the agendas of terrorist groups who benefit from continued fighting, targeting global security, and the security of Europe in particular.

Dr. Hijab concluded that his visit comes as part of efforts to persuade the international community and ensure a negotiating atmosphere conducive of genuine peace-building; cessation of combat, a formation of an international monitoring and supervisory mechanism to ensure the commitment of various parties, collaboration on the removal of all foreign forces, securing border crossings and supply routes, provision of safe zones, delivery of aid to affected areas, and other measures that are mostly outside the control of the regime.

Source: Office of Dr Riad Hijab, Former Prime Minister of Syria