Syria opposition says to join Geneva peace talks on March 14

 11 Mar 2016 - 18:04

Syria opposition says to join Geneva peace talks on March 14
A man reacts for the loss of family members after an air strike on the rebel held al-Saliheen district in Aleppo, Syria, March 11, 2016. REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail


Beirut: Syria's main opposition body, the High Negotiations Committee, said Friday that it would attend indirect peace talks with the government in Geneva on March 14.

In a statement distributed to reporters, the HNC said it would participate in the negotiations as part of its "commitment to international efforts to stop the bloodshed and find a political solution."

United Nations special envoy Staffan de Mistura said "substantive" talks would begin on March 14 in the Swiss city and would not last longer than 10 days.

A source close to the Syrian government confirmed earlier this week that its delegation would be attending.

In its statement, the HNC said its delegation would focus on the creation of a "transitional governance body with full executive powers".

It said President Bashar al-Assad "will have no place" in a future government.

The HNC said it was not setting "any preconditions to its participation in the talks," but insisted that parties should commit to international agreements on humanitarian issues.

HNC general coordinator Riad Hijab said the opposition was ready to "take advantage of every opportunity to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people."

More than 270,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict erupted with anti-government protests in 2011.