Last Updated: Sun Jul 01, 2012 13:05 pm (KSA) 10:05 am (GMT)

Syrian opposition says ‘vague’ transition deal has ‘some positive elements’

Demonstrators have been protesting against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad since the uprising began 16 months ago and has caused the deaths of over 15,000 people according to various international estimates. (Reuters)
Demonstrators have been protesting against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad since the uprising began 16 months ago and has caused the deaths of over 15,000 people according to various international estimates. (Reuters)

The Syrian opposition said on Sunday it welcomed “a few positive elements” in a transition deal hammered out by world powers aimed at resolving the bloody conflict, but said the plan was too vague.

The final declaration of the meeting on Syria “seems to suggest a few positive elements,” Basma Qadmani, spokeswoman for the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), told AFP but she added “important elements remain too ambiguous ... and the plan is too vague to foresee real and immediate action.”

Transition dubbed as ‘failure’

Meanwhile, both official media and an opposition group on Sunday branded as a failure a transition plan on Syria by world powers a day after more than 80 people were reported killed in violence all nationwide.

At least nine people were killed in fighting across Syria on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, as rebels and regime troops clashed in several provinces as they battled for control of restive areas.

World powers meeting in Geneva on Saturday agreed on a transition plan that could include current regime members, but the West did not see any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the way forward.

Russia and China insisted that Syrians themselves must decide how the transition should be carried out rather than allow others to dictate their fate.

Moscow and Beijing, which have twice blocked U.N. Security Council resolutions on Syria, both signed up to the final agreement that did not make any explicit call for Assad to cede power.

Both official Syrian media and the LCC demonstrated rare agreement on Sunday in slamming the outcome of the Geneva talks.

The meeting “failed,” wrote Al-Baath, newspaper of the ruling party.

“The agreement of the task force on Syria in Geneva on Saturday resembles an enlarged meeting of the U.N. Security Council where the positions of participants remained the same,” it said.

The LCC, which organizes protests on the ground in Syria, said the outcome showed once again the failure to adopt a common position.

It called the transition accord “just one version, different in form only, of the demands of Russian leaders allied to the Assad regime and who cover it militarily and politically in the face of international pressure.”

“The new agreement contains obscure turns of phrase that give the Assad regime’s gangs another chance to play for time in suppressing the popular revolution and to silence it through violence and massacres.”

At least 83 people were killed, mostly civilians, on Saturday, and hundreds more were trapped in Douma north of Damascus as regime forces stormed the town, the Syrian Observatory for Human rights said.

In the single most serious incident, mortar fire killed 30 civilians at a funeral in the town of Zamalka, 10 kilometers (six miles) east of Damascus, the Britain-based watchdog said.

The Geneva deal came despite initial pessimism about the prospects of the talks amid deep divisions between the West and China and Russia on how to end the violence that the Observatory says has killed more than 15,800 since March 2011.

U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan did not name names in Geneva, and said it was up to the Syrians to decide who they wanted in a unity government.

But he added: “I would doubt that Syrians... would select people with blood on their hands to lead them.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made it clear that Washington did not see a role for Assad in the transition.

“Assad will still have to go. He will never pass the mutual consent test,” she said.

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