-Head of the Syrian Arab Republic’s delegation to the Syrian-Syrian dialogue in Geneva Bashar al-Jaafari said on Wednesday that “the masters of al-Riyadh delegation; Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar issued their orders, from the first moment, to make Geneva meeting a failure, as they did in Geneva 2 meeting,” adding that “there was a problem in the absence of a list about who were the opposition and who were the terrorists.”
“As a government, we have proven to the whole world our commitment, seriousness, discipline and sense of responsibility,” al-Jaafari said at a press conference.
He added “We didn’t find one opposition, but a number of oppositions and contradicting groups among them and groups of persons who receive orders from external powers and masters.”
“You all have heard what de Mistura said to justify the suspension of the first exploratory round and the reason behind procedural problems… this part is correct, yes there are procedural problems since the first moment and even before sending the invitations to the sides concerned, the problems were who was the opposition and which was terrorism,” al-Jaafari said.
“There was another part, which de Mistura, as 45 years experienced diplomat at the UN, avoided to talk about it, which is a political one, namely al-Riyadh delegation decided, since the arrival of al-Khouja and Riyad Hejab this morning, to withdraw from Geneva… de Mistura was informed and tried to save the track by announcing the suspension of the round”.
De Mistura tried one way or another to save the other side from embarrassment which that side would bring to itself and de Mistura to keep himself leading the process even in shape… this talk we expected it before we come to Geneva.. and yesterday I told de Mistura this in the meeting hall and that what has happened, al-Jaafari elaborated.
Anyhow, this behavior from the side of Riyadh group was irresponsible and unserious,” al-Jaafari said, adding that “al-Riyadh group was not committed in the idea of coming to Geneva and engaging in indirect talks with the delegation of the Syrian Arab republic, because Riyadh group masters, Qatar, Saudi, and Turkey instructed them to fail Geneva meeting as they formerly did when failed Geneva2 headed by Lakhdar Ibrahimi”.
He added that Riyadh delegation came, and was instructed from the first moment by a Saudi and Qatari decision to fail this round (dialogue), after five days delay , they did not meet de Mistura at UN HQ but rather asked him to meet them in the hotel twice, then they started accusations, claims and misleadings about existing a humanitarian crisis in al-Moadamiya and Madaya.. then they started attacking our Russian friends and the joint military operations against terrorism, in addition tp promoting their lies in a flagrant way.
Al-Jaafari pointed out that the mismanagement of the UN and the sides arranged for this round and misbehavior appeard in different shapes.. starting from not respecting decision 2254 as far as inviting delegations from Riyadh, Moscow, Cairo and other groups which means the national parties which came from Damascus.. and secondly the deep slow in dealing with components of the so-called oppositions, as we heard that a delegation from the national opposition which came from Damascus is in Geneva for the last three days and nobody talked to them, even they were not issued authorization to enter the UN HQ or given a hall as Riyadh delegation was given.
“As a government, we have proven to the whole world our commitment, seriousness, discipline and sense of responsibility, we were called on 28 January and we came right away from the airport to the UN HQ, we had the first session with the Special Envoy, then he called us again for a second round, so nobody can ever blame the delegation of the Syrian Arab republic for anything” al-Jaafari elaborated.
You noticed that de Mistura made a more objective statement than what he said before when he was leaving the hotel where he met Hijab” adding that he talked and explained to de Mistura that what has been against the Syrian government regarding humanitarian initiatives is categorically wrong, al-Jaafari indicated.
“As far as the humanitarian situation is concerned, the government approved delivering aid to Madaya, al-Moadamya, al-Tal and al-Foua’a, not as a response to anybody, but rather this is a routine work of our government delivering aid to our besieged people by terrorists inside these towns and cities”, al-Jaafari said.
The humanitarian aspect is government’s concern before being anybody else’s, and we told de Mistura that 75% out of the humanitarian aid is provided by the government because we are assisting our people and deliver the aid.
Al-Jaafari refuted what has been said about 6 million people displaced from the areas controlled by the government saying “Those people were displaced from areas under militants’ control to areas under the government’s control, including families of some militants”.
“We conveyed all these details to the Special Envoy and the accompanying delegation, therefore the image is clear in our and our Russian and Iranian friends’ minds,” al-Jaafari said, adding, “everybody is displeased with misbehavior of Riyadh group and the political instructions directed to them by their employers and their masters.”
Responding to journalists questions about De Mistura’s statements and what he said that suspension happens during such conferences, al-Jaafari said ” As a mediator , We have to understand his stance … where a severe pressure is practiced upon him by the western delegations, Vienna group, London group, Rome group, the Secretary General, Saudis, Turks , Qataris and others who gather everyday in one capital, So this pressure makes him unable to tackle this dilemma, thus he wanted to find an exit.. as far as I know he was not expecting such an end, he was planning to proceed till Feb 10th, since on Feb 11th there is a meeting for what is called Syria international support group.”
Asked about who shoulder the responsibility of this end, al-Jaafari said..” all those I mentioned are responsible”.
Asked about the opposition demands and the preconditions it has put, al-Jaafari added ” We don’t find opposition in front of us, but we found oppositions and contradictory groups, people clashed, quarreled and insulted each others before the Western delegations hosting them at their embassies … We found groups of people who take their orders from foreign powers and masters.”
Al-Jaafari added” We said from the beginning that, as in any international or negotiation meeting, we have to agree on preparing the form before the content because the form is very important to control the content.”
Al-Jaafri stressed that there are series of differences related to the form and this matter hindered talking about the agenda which is the schedule of the meeting, we can’t talk about content before agreeing on the external framework, saying ” I want to give you an example to remember, We spent 29 days in Geneva with al-Ibrahimi talking about the necessity of putting schedule and he remained objecting until he came on the 29th day and said that our talk is right and we have to make agenda, but on the following day the meeting ended”.
He continued to say ” We said and are still saying to De Mistura that we want to know with whom we will sit and who are the ghosts which we will talk to…. there aren’t lists or names but there are many groups and each group came from a place and each group has a master.”
He added “there is national group; meaning the national internal parties, that came from Damascus and nobody talked with them, and another group which came and quarreled with each others, where some people were absent, while others apologized and finally only 7 out of 15 people remained,” pointing out that same thing for ” Riyadh group which presented 17 names and when they entered the hall to talk with de Mistura, only 12 out of 17 people entered , including people who were not invited to the meeting.”
Over returning to Geneva, al-Jaafari clarified “this issue will be discussed later through the diplomatic channels and Damascus will take the final decision in this regard “.
Asked about if this is considered a failure of De Mistura efforts, he highlighted that “there is a failure for the all except the Syrian Arab Republic government because we responded positively to the invitation.”
“We have said many times that we are ready to talk and cooperate with all the responsible sides which have real interest in helping the Syrian government to stop the bloodshed and we have proved this”, al-Jaafari said adding that ..” what is annoying is that from the beginning of the crisis there were hidden and apparent foreign hands controlling the dolls calling itself the opposition”.
He asserted that the tragedy began “with the direct and indirect foreign interference whether it was regionally or internationally, as with the foreign support that led to complicating the situation”, holding the responsibility for the governments of the US, France, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar the real leaders of Riyadh group.
As for the time before 25 February, Al-Jaafari made it clear that de Mistura is supposed to re-evaluate what has happened in Geneva as well as the governments including the government of the Syrian Arab Republic and we will take the appropriate decision.
Al-Jaafari said..” we do not continue in good-will intentions with oppositions we do with governments.. we are a responsible government for a state called Syria.. we behave in a responsible, logical and objective manner.. we are not armatures.. we are diplomacy and politics professionals”.
He added” our big concern is to rescue our country and people from the bloodshed, to stop violence and to cooperate with the good will sides” stressing ” there are some sides that don’t want the success of this effort , but its success is what we and our friends aspire.”
“I don’t hold de Mistura responsibility for what happened, but maybe he has mistaken when he saved face of the Riyadh group instead of letting them declaring their withdrawal from this round consequencely to shoulder the responsibility”.
Al-Jaafari continued to say “the military developments on the ground were decisive in this field, and their decision to withdraw came after opening the road to Nubul and al-Zahraa and entering the medical clinics to Madaya and al-Moadamiya,” adding ” after entering the humanitarian aid to all these areas as to al-Tal, Zabadani and other places, we don’t give them the chance to criticize the government because they couldn’t criticize it at all.”
“During meeting de Mistura yesterday, We have told him to test them and let them issue a statement denouncing the bombings of Sayyeda Zainab, but they were embarrassed and issued a statement unwillingly and decided to withdraw,” Al-Jaafari said, adding” we hope to connect all these data to have a panoramic image of what was happened.”