Syrian Opposition Declines International Visit Invitations
Syria’s National Coalition has announced it will not participate in a Friends of Syria summit in Rome next month. The group also declined invitations to visit Moscow and Washington. A spokesperson attributed the decision to concerns over the U.S. and Russia’s responses to the conflict. ”The international silence on the crimes committed every day against our people amounts to participating in two years of killings,” the Coalition stated. ”The Russian leadership especially bears moral and political responsibility for supplying the regime with weapons.” The decision may undermine opposition leader Moaz al-Khatib‘s decision to participate in talks with the Syrian government.
In The Washington Times, Guy Taylor discussed the grim prospects for success for Secretary of State John Kerry‘s upcoming meeting with Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov. Taylor cited Russia’s history of strong relations with Assad and ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Russia, including Lavrov’s recent accusation that the U.S. has a double standard with respect to Syria, as indicators that the meeting may not produce significant progress toward an agreement. In an editorial for the Washington Post, Vance Serchuk expressed a similar view of Russia’s behavior as an obstacle to U.S. policy in Syria, calling for the U.S. to develop a “Plan B” in the event that Russia continues its support for the Assad regime and the violence in Syria continues. Serchuk also called for a fundamental shift in President Barack Obama‘s calculations in his Syrian strategy, including direct assistance for the rebels.
In spite of increasing doubts among analysts, UN Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi stated on Friday that “there are more and more people who accept that there’s no military victory for any side and that you need a political solution. And that political solution needs negotiations.” Brahimi emphasized the necessity of a negotiated solution, saying, “Syria either has a peaceful resolution or then war…until the country is destroyed.”