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Islamic summit calls for Syrian transition, blames regime: draft

Published: Updated:

Leaders of Islamic nations will call for a dialogue between the Syrian opposition and government officials “not involved in oppression” to end two years of bloody civil war, a draft communique seen by Reuters on Tuesday said.

The declaration, due to be issued after a two-day summit of 56-member Islamic Conference Organization in Cairo beginning on Wednesday, does not mention President Bashar al-Asssad and holds his government primarily responsible for continued violence in Syria.

The draft denounces massacres of civilians “perpetrated by the Syrian authorities” and calls on the opposition to speed up the formation of a transitional government.

Assad has yet to respond to an initiative by opposition leader Moaz Al-Khatib, who has offered to meet Assad’s deputy to negotiate ways to end the bloodshed in Syria.

On Monday, Khatib said the dire humanitarian situation in Syria has compelled the Syrian opposition to accept dialogue with Assad’s regime.

While the opposition accepted dialogue with the Syrian regime based on the condition that President Assad must cede power, Khatib said that “the Syrian humanitarian suffering and - only suffering - has compelled the opposition to opt for such solution.”

According to Khatib, “if the regime accepts such political solution, then there is no need to close the door.”

The opposition has previously rejected any talks with the embattled Syrian regime, but accepting a dialogue now is due to the “complicated” situation, the opposition leader said without adding any further information.

He signaled Syrian Vice President Farouq Al-Sharaa as one of Assad regime members, whose hands are not “stained with blood,” to have a dialogue with.

“Just because [Sharaa] is part of the regime doesn’t mean that we cannot talk to him. I request the regime to commission Sharaa, (if the regime accepts), for talks with us.”