Syria needs support to negotiate but "terrorism" must end - ambassador

by Reuters
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 18:41 GMT

MONTREUX, Switzerland, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Syria's envoy to the United Nations said on Wednesday that Damascus needed support to negotiate with the opposition to implement a 2012 Geneva communique that calls for a transitional government but said that "terrorism" must also end.

Bashar Jaafari, speaking to a news conference after an all-day international meeting, said that in talks with the opposition mediated by Lakhdar Brahimi in Geneva on Friday, "we will hopefully engage in a process of dialogue mainly aiming at implementing the provisions of Geneva 1".

"Syria needs encouragement to engage in the sincere and honest implementation of Geneva 1, as I said, but to do so, we need all to put an end to the terrorism, and the violence, because the political settlement cannot go hand-in-hand with the terrorism," he said.

Jaafari voiced disappointment with the format of the conference, attended by 40 countries but not its ally Iran after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon withdrew Tehran's invitation for not publicly endorsing the Geneva communique.

"So we had today 40 countries seemingly pre-selected in a way that most of them would be anti-Syrian delegations, meaning that they are coming from governments who do have hostile policies towards the Syrian government," he said.

(Reporting by Samia Nakhoul; writing by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Dominic Evans)

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