Syrian National Council quits opposition bloc
The group said it would be going back on its ‘commitments’ to not enter negotiations until Assad left power
The Syrian National Council (SNC), the biggest bloc in Syria’s opposition-in-exile, announced late on Monday it was quitting the umbrella Syrian National Coalition in protest over the Geneva II peace talks with the Damascus regime.
By taking part in the talks, due to start on Wednesday, the group said it would be going back on its “commitments” to not enter negotiations until Syrian President Bashar al-Assad left power -- something which he refuses to do.
The move follows a dramatic series of events when U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday extended an invitation to Assad’s ally, Iran, to attend the peace conference to be held in the Swiss town of Montreux.
The coalition had threatened to withdraw from the talks altogether unless Ban withdraws the invite – which he did later on Monday.
In a statement, the coalition said it “welcomed the decision of the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon to withdraw the invitation sent to Iran, given that Iran has not met the conditions of participation in Geneva 2 conference”.
It said it therefore “confirms its participation” in the talks which it said aimed to achieve “a political transition.”
The opposition group’s steadfast stance is that Assad must step down from power.
But the SNC has dealt a blow to the umbrella group by refusing to participate.
Assad: Syrian opposition ‘make a good joke’The president said there is a "significant" chance he will stand in presidential elections expected this June Middle East
Saudi Arabia: Iran ‘not eligible’ to attend Syria talksSyrian opposition threatens to pull out from peace talks after the U.N. invited Iran to attend Middle East
The Syrian opposition isn’t excited about Geneva IISome Syrian opposition groups affiliated with the Assad regime are waiting and hoping to take the opposition’s seat at the Geneva conference Middle East
Opposition: Geneva ‘funeral’ for Syrian regimeThe Western-backed Syrian National Coalition has overwhelmingly voted in favor for the upcoming peace talks in Switzerland Middle East
Syrian opposition to meet in Turkey for peace talksThe talks of the opposition National Coalition were postponed due to problems posed by some 40 delegates Middle East
Syrian opposition will have veto power in GenevaU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the Syrian National Coalition could veto any names for an interim leadership in Geneva Middle East
British MPs urge Cameron to support arming Syrian rebelsAlistair Burt, a politician who oversaw Syria policy for three years, told Al Arabiya News Channel that it is time to back the moderate Syrian opposition World News
1900GMT: Is Syrian opposition’s participation in Geneva inevitable?News Bulletins
Friends of Syria agree no future for AssadThe opposition Syrian National Coalition did not announce yet if it will participate in the Geneva peace talks Middle East