Monday Jan 20, 201411:12 AM GMT
Geneva II talks must focus on fighting terror: Assad
A photo of a militant in Syria. (file photo)
A photo of a militant in Syria. (file photo)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the goal of the upcoming Geneva II conference should be the “fight against terrorism,” warning that losing that war would mean chaos in the region.

Assad made the remarks in an interview with AFP news agency on Monday.

“The Geneva conference must lead to clear results regarding the fight against terrorism... that would be the most important result of the conference,” the Syrian president said, adding, “Any political result that did not include the fight against terrorism would have no value.”

He also referred to the Syrian army’s recent advances in the fight against foreign-backed militants, saying the war with the terrorists will take a lot of time.

Assad also referred to the foreign-backed opposition groups and said, “It is clear to everyone that some of the groups which might attend the conference didn’t exist until very recently.”

“They were created during the crisis by foreign intelligence agencies, whether in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France, the United States or other countries,” he added, accusing France of being a proxy state for Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

He also said that he will seek a new term in office in the country’s upcoming presidential election slated for June, ruling out the likelihood that the so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC) would take any ministerial positions in a new government as “totally unrealistic.”

Assad went on to say that negotiating with these groups accounts to negotiating with their foreign backers, adding, “Opposition representation in government would mean the participation of each of those states in the Syrian government.”

The Geneva II conference will kick off in the Swiss city of Montreux on January 22 and will then move to the UN headquarters in Geneva on January 24 after a one-day break.

The talks are aimed at finding a political solution to the deadly crisis that has gripped Syria since 2011.

MM/HJL/HRB

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