The conference of the opposition parties and forces for peaceful democratic change concluded its activities on Wednesday, issuing a closing statement calling for working to launch a unified opposition conference that doesn’t exclude any side.
The statement said that work will continue to achieve this soon before calling for a comprehensive national dialogue encompassing all the national sides of the crisis and social and popular activities from all spectrums, without exclusion of any side.
The statement said that the time and place of this dialogue would be specified later, and that if any side â€“ whether it’s the government or any opposition side â€“ makes a similar invitation, the groups participating in the conference will join this invitation without preconditions.
The statement said that the conference produced a number of documents and resolutions that represent a roadmap and the convening sides’ viewpoints regarding comprehensive dialogue, a safe exit from the crisis, and peaceful, comprehensive democratic change.
The statement also noted that committees have been established to follow up on the results of the conference and send letters to the Security Council, UN Envoy to Syria Lakhdar Ibrahimi, Russia, China and the EU and a number of human rights organization.
In a speech at the conclusion of the conference, head of the Peaceful Change Path movement Fateh Jamous lauded the efforts exerted to ensure the success of this conference, saying that the conference represents the aspirations and interests of a popular group that wasn’t polarized by either sides of the violence, hoping that other sides in the opposition and the crisis would resort to rational thinking and embrace dialogue.
In a statement, Jamous said that during the conference, a group entered the hall and they discovered that it was a group of those who carried arms thinking that it was the way for change in Syria, but this group spoke in a new manner and said that weapons aren’t the way for Syria’s salvation; rather the way is through dialogue and peaceful work.
A dissenting officer, Lt. Col. Khaled Abderahman al-Zamel, who abandoned the bearing of arms, said in a speech at the conference that he was the deputy head of the military council in the south for the so-called “free army.”
He offered on behalf of himself and his colleagues the sincerest condolences to the families of military and civilian martyrs and wishes for recovery to the injured, saying that he and those who accompanied him to the conference had discovered after breaking away from the army and working with the armed groups that the Syrian crisis cannot be solved by bearing arms against fellow Syrians, as bearing arms should be for supporting the brothers in Palestine against the enemies of humanity.
Al-Zamel said that he and his colleagues thought deep and hard about what is happening in Syria and decided to recant what they did and cooperate with the National Reconciliation Ministry to resolve their situation, placing themselves at the disposal of the army command.
He said that this is a first step in calling all other dissenting soldiers to return to the homeland and the army establishment, stressing that the solution is through political work and national dialogue, not through destruction, violence, vandalism, bombings and murder of innocents.
In turn, Yasser al-Abed, who had formed and led armed groups in Aleppo, also offered condolences to the families of martyrs and wishes for recovery to the injured, calling on those who bear arms to take some to time to think, saying that he threw down his weapons voluntarily and of his own free will.
Al-Abed said that the calls of the State Minister for National Reconciliation Affairs to throw down weapons played a significant role in changing his mind along with others among his colleagues.
During a session titled “ways of safe exit from the crisis in Syria and mechanisms of democratic peaceful change,” participants in the conference proposed a few basic ideas of a roadmap and steps that the Syrian government should take to emerge safely from the crisis.
They stressed the need for the armed opposition to cease blockading roads and refrain from any political or instigating discourse that calls for foreign intervention, and instead launch a discourse for dialogue, truce and ceasing violence.
The participants also discussed steps for calling for a unified opposition conference and holding dialogue without preconditions, stressing the need to adhere to a few points by all sides, including ceasing any talk of destroying the state and its establishments, rejecting all to do with foreign intervention, and working to end the sanctions harming the Syrian people.
Head of the Syrian Family Assembly and member of the politburo of the Democratic Part, Ahed Sharifeh, stressed that the Syrian people are the source of legitimate sovereignty, underlining the need to build a renewable Syria based on political pluralism, rule of law, equality, justice, citizenship, rights and duties.
She also called for guaranteeing Syria’s unity and sovereignty and rejecting foreign interference in all its forms, terrorism and sectarianism, stressing that the Syrian army is the national institution that protects sovereignty, dignity, freedom and the constitution.
Sharifeh underlined the adopt a national economic model to achieve high growth rates and employ it to achieve social justice and employing living standards for everyone, calling for an immediate end to murder, violence, terrorism, vandalism and chaos, adopting political solutions based on dialogue, and working to formulate a new constitution.
Earlier, participants in the conference which kicked off on Wednesday morning with the participation of 35 parties, bodies and trends, called for a national comprehensive dialogue that does not exclude anyone from the table.
The official spokesperson for the Popular Front for Change and Liberation, Adel N’eiseh, considered that in the end everyone must sit at the negotiating table, stressing that it is the Syrians themselves who should prepare the negotiating table and set its goals.
“We have started talking of an outlet out of our beliefâ€¦that in there won’t be a winner except the homelandâ€¦Our duty is to spare time and extend the dialogue table,” said N’eiseh.
He called for seizing the opportunity to launch “a comprehensive national dialogue that doesn’t exclude anyone and extends the table to whoever wants to offer something for the homeland.”
“The real opposition man takes the principled stanceâ€¦even it didn’t enjoy popularity. The other stance, that is the popular stance, is the one which observes partisan gains under various pretexts,” the N’eiseh added.
“As loud as the boom of their bombs reaches, the sound of the public anger at this behavior will be louder,” said N’eiseh, considering that if the bombing which took place in Damascus before the date set for the conference was a message, “then the answer is the convening of the conference.”
Addressing the conference, the Russian Ambassador in Damascus, Azmatullah Kulmohammadov, stressed the necessity of finding solutions to the crisis in Syria through peaceful political means on the ground of comprehensive dialogue without preconditions and taking tangible steps towards achieving the national reconciliation.
He called for unifying efforts to find a peaceful outlet from the crisis that is based on rejecting foreign interference, including funding, arming and harboring the armed groups, and halting violence immediately by all sides.
He said Russia attaches great importance to the mission of the UN envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, stressing the importance of Kofi Annan’s six-point plan and the Geneva statement in finding a solution to the crisis in Syria.
The Russian Ambassador highlighted the important role of the national internal opposition and the unified political forces in trying to find a coalition for peaceful change that stands against foreign interference and calls for immediate halt of violence and support to constructive dialogue with the government.
He voiced confidence that this approach aimed at unifying the common efforts of the national internal opposition would help make of the opposition a real influential force that is able to find a frame for dialogue with the government and get to solving the issues to prevent the country from slipping to a dangerous edge.
For his part, Sing Yao condemned in a speech in the name of the Chinese Embassy in Damascus the two terrorist bombings which took place in Damascus, stressing that China’s stance towards the crisis in Syria is objective, just and responsible and based on protecting the main interests of the Syrian people.
Sing called for letting the Syrian people decide their own future by sticking to a political solution to the crisis and preserving the UN Chapter and the basic rules governing international relations, and commitment to Annan’s six-point plan, Geneva statement and the relevant Security Council resolutions.
He stressed that the priority is for ceasing fire and acts of violence and setting the political process in motion, pointing out to that China, as a friend to Syria, is engaged in endeavors to solve the crisis through backing the efforts that enjoy wide-range support.
”Today’s meeting holds out hope for a political solution despite major challenges, and reflects the will and resolve of the parties concerned to reject foreign interference and back political solution,” said Yao, hoping that ”The international community with have patience and play a positive role to find a just and peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria.”
The Iranian ambassador in Damascus, Mohammad-Reza Sheibani said that dialogue is the best way to reach the aspired-to goal in solving the crisis in Syria that was concocted by enemies of the Syrian people to weaken the Syrian state for being a fundamental part of the axis of resistance.
He reiterated his country’s respect for the demands of the Syrian people and the importance of pushing ahead with reforms.
”The Syrian people are the only authority who are entitled to determine their own future, and political solution and comprehensive dialogue is the sole way to reach the hoped-for reforms,” the Iranian ambassador said, adding ”Iran has opposed all foreign interference in the Syrian affairs, especially military interference, because democracy can never achieved at gunpoint.”
He added that Iran has categorically opposed bloodshed and violence, adding that it believes that violence stokes the crisis and compound problems.
”Hence, I’d like to express condemnation of the terrorist attacks which hit Damascus this morning and spilled the blood of the innocents.”
The Iranian ambassador added, ”Iran denounces the irresponsible interference of some countries through offering logistical help to irresponsible groups in Syria,” reiterating his country’s call for respecting and preserving Syria’s unity.
The Iranian ambassador saw that the meeting constitutes a positive step to stop undermining Syria, affirming that the Syrian government’s agreement to organizing such conferences proves its well-intentioned willingness to achieve national reconciliation.
For his part, Qadri Jamil, Secretary of the Popular Will Party, said that the common denominator among the participants in the conference is the will in a peaceful, democratic change.
“The history will not be merciful towards those who call for a foreign intervention.. those who don’t want dialogue are the powers of corruption which seek, through exaggerated violence, to cover their practices,” Jamil added.
Other representatives of different parties in Syria underlined that they donâ€™t accept to kill the State and the Syrian society, destroy railways and the public institutions.
They said that all in Syria want change, but the Syrian State is the sponsor which gather all Syrians as the solution will not be other than Syrian.
The parties considered that the twin terrorist explosions which took place near the General Staff today are against the opposition and the State alike.
They called for supporting everyone who has the will in the peaceful, democratic change to come out of the crisis and dismiss the logic of abolishment.
M. Ismael/H. Said/ Mazen