Ex-Syria opposition chief says direct talks best way out

Moaz al-Khatib blames foreign powers of using Syria to settles disputes

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Direct negotiations between the Syrian regime and the opposition will save the warring parties in Syria further losses and speed up reaching a settlement to the three-year-old civil war, Moaz al-Khatib, the former president of the opposition National Coalition, said in an interview published Wednesday.

“The political action might be a longer path but it is much less costly, and I believe that direct negotiation will solve many political problems,” Khatib told the Global Arab Network.

He said the stubbornness of both parties and their refusal to make major concession could prolong the war and deepen the people’s suffering.

“We as Arabs are negatively influenced by literature, as one of our slogans is: we are people that don’t accept mid solutions…so either we will triumph or die. This mentality is manifested in the savage acts of the regime, and in the stubbornness of the opposition, while the people are paying the price,” said the former imam of the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus.

“Breaking down the problems will contribute to resolving the most difficult conflicts, and the step-by-step approach might be the best for a real solution,” he added.

The warring sides first came face to face in direct talks during a conference in Geneva earlier this year but failed to agree on a roadmap for a definitive solution to the civil war.

The former opposition leader blamed unnamed countries of using Syria as a battleground to settle their disputes.

“Some countries are settling their conflicts with other countries over our land, and they are trying to fuel the conflict so it serves their own interests; these countries aren’t interested in the success of any negotiation process,” he said.

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