Syrian major opposition rules out talks plan

The newly-elected president of Syria`s main opposition National Coalition on Monday ruled out the possibility of taking part in new talks proposed by Russia to end the Syrian conflict.

IANS| Last Updated: Jan 06, 2015, 05:53 AM IST

Istanbul: The newly-elected president of Syria`s main opposition National Coalition on Monday ruled out the possibility of taking part in new talks proposed by Russia to end the Syrian conflict.

Khaled Khoja, 49 years old, doctor and businessman from Damascus Khoja, won the majority of votes of 111 members of the general assembly in Istanbul early Monday and took over the presidency from Hadi al Bahra, Xinhua reported.

He said at a press conference in Istanbul that the dialogue with the regime that Moscow is calling for is out of the question.

"We can`t sit at the same table as the regime, except in a negotiating framework intended to achieve a peaceful transition of power and the formation of a transitional body with full powers," he said.

Answering the questions about the Russian initiative to revive the failed talks, he said "there is no Russian initiative. There is no clear vision and Russia did not invite us."

He also pointed out that there is no initiative in the opposition to have talks with the regime.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appealed the Syrian opposition groups in December to agree among themselves on a common approach before setting up direct talks with the Damascus government.

The vice president position which is reserved for the Kurdish member has not been elected as the Kurdish block didn`t attend to the assembly meeting.

Syrian opposition coalition also discussed the proposals by UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura and the results of the coalition` s recent visits to Cairo and Riyadh.

By 2013, at least 20 states and international organisations, including the US, Turkey, Germany, the EU and the Arab League, had recognised the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

More than 190,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict between the Assad regime and opposition forces began in early 2011, according to UN figures published in August 2014.