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Syria gov't welcomes results of Geneva meeting, opposition rejects

(Xinhua)

13:23, July 05, 2012

DAMASCUS, July 4 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government welcomed Wednesday the outcome of the Geneva Conference that meant to pave the way for a political-transitional process in Syria, saying all issues are negotiable, while Syria's fractured opposition abroad rejected the plan, calling it a "farce."

An action group comprising of some world powers met Saturday in Geneva, Switzerland, agreeing on the need to establish a transitional government of national unity in Syria to include members of both the government and opposition. It would also oversee the drafting of a new constitution and elections.

The plan does not clearly bar Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from taking part in the power transition.

"Syria welcomes the final statement issued at the end of the conference, especially the substantial points that talked about commitment to the sovereignty, independence, safety and unity of the Syrian territories," the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Syria also hails the statement's call for launching a political process with the participation of all forces in the country in order to "establish a multi-party democratic state," it said.

Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi said his country highly appreciates UN-Arab League (AL) joint envoy Kofi Annan's stance that calls for a full cessation of violence by any party and disarmament of the armed groups as a prelude for launching the political process.

"We hope that all countries that participated in the Geneva Conference would commit themselves to it and work honestly for a political solution to the crisis in Syria based on ending violence, halting the financing, arming and housing armed groups," the ministry said.

The Syrian ministry, however, said there are a few vague points in the statement that need clarification, stopping short of specifying those points. The ministry renewed the country's commitment to Annan's six-point peace plan.

The abroad-based opposition, however, regarded the latest international move as a "farce."

Burhan Ghalioun, ex-leader of the Turkey-based opposition group Syrian National Council (SNC), referred to the statement as "the worse one to emerge from talks on Syria." The SNC totally rejects any form of dialogue with the government from the beginning of the anti-government movement.

Head of the suspended UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) said here on Wednesday that the Geneva meeting was very important, adding that its outcome was the best possible one.

Maj. Gen. Robert Mood said "it was difficult. But in my view, for a possible peaceful way forward for the Syrian people, we have reached the best possible outcome," adding "the urgency of stopping the violence is maybe the most important issue for everyone involved," he said.

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