Syrian opposition groups choose ex-PM to represent them in talks

Former Syrian premier Riad Hijab chairs the first official meeting of the Free National Gathering's general assembly in Doha March 8, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer
Former Syrian most advantageous Riad Hijab chairs the primary reputable meeting of the Free Nationwide Gathering’s general meeting in Doha March Eight, 2013.

Reuters/Stringer


Participants of a Syrian opposition physique arrange in Saudi Arabia closing week selected former top minister Riad Hijab on Thursday to symbolize them within the war’s peace process, sources said.

Hijab, who defected from Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s government in 2012, obtained the backing of greater than two thirds of the 34 delegates from actions referred to as to Riyadh by world powers in a bid to unite them and settle years of wrangling and rivalries.

The Individuals of the physique are representatives of political opposition groups inside of and out of doors Syria. It also contains representatives of preventing teams within the usa such as the powerful Islamist Ahrar al-Sham and a number of Free Syrian Military units that have obtained armed forces toughen from states antagonistic to Assad corresponding to Saudi Arabia and the U.S..

But It Surely does now not embody the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, or Islamic State – among the many main avid gamers opposing Assad in a struggle now virtually five years old.

Divisions within the opposition movements have hampered efforts to unravel the warfare, and there have been indicators of persisted tensions at the meeting where Members made up our minds, after hours of discussions, to vote for a coordinator, no longer a pacesetter.

“The coordinator has less authority than a president,” one source stated.

Contributors stated Hijab was chosen as a result of his familiarity with the interior workings of the Syrian state.

“He is best suited candidate at this stage with a protracted years of govt expertise in contrast to figures from the political opposition out of the country with no real negotiating abilities,” one opposition supply conversant in the talks stated.

But others mentioned many remained involved about his earlier links to Assad’s Baath birthday celebration.

The actions agreed to arrange a joint Larger Authority for Negotiations throughout a two-day convention in Riyadh, organized as a part of a world agreement in Vienna remaining month.

It was supposed to create a body to fulfill Syria’s government in talks in early January and steer clear of the divisions which have plagued past efforts.

The Turkish-based political opposition that led the final round of failed peace talks two years ago used to be extensively criticized as out of contact with forces on the ground.

(Reporting via Suleiman al-Khalidi, Mariam Karouny and Tom Perry; Enhancing by using Andrew Heavens)

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