A top Syrian official has rejected the “dream” of a transitional government without President Bashar al-Assad, saying that such ideas are nothing short of a “coup d’etat.”
"This will not happen, not now, nor tomorrow nor ever," Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad was quoted as saying by The Associated Press on Wednesday.
"We believe such an idea has failed, it is outdated, it will never be acceptable. This amounts in fact to a coup d’etat. People organize a certain rebellion and then they get power. This will never happen in Syria," he added.
He went on to note that for the peace talks to proceed, “factual, actual solutions” most be reached.
"This includes the possibility of establishing a national unity government or a broad government that includes members of the opposition," he said.
Assad recently offered the notion of a unity government conclusive of both government and opposition while rejecting a "transitional body with full executive powers."
Meanwhile, the latest round of Syria peace talk kicked off in Geneva on Wednesday. Following a meeting with the Saudi-backed opposition High Negotiations Committee, UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura stressed that a ceasefire is mainly still being observed despite a recent "deterioration" in some areas.
The ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia went into effect on February 27 across Syria. The truce agreement does not apply to Daesh and al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.
The last round of the UN-backed peace talks came to a halt on March 24 over disagreements on the role of President Assad in Syria’s future.
The foreign-backed Syrian opposition says Assad must step down before a transitional government can be established.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injuring 1.9 million others, and displacing nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.