Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Damascus offers prisoner exchange  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 18/01/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - Arab News) Syria said Friday it was ready to swap prisoners with rebels and to help improve humanitarian aid as the divided Syrian opposition debates whether to join international peace talks next week



Speaking in Moscow, Syria's Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said Damascus was ready to offer a prisoner exchange with rebels. He however declined to specify how many or when the operation might take place

He also said he had presented a cease-fire plan for the second city Aleppo to his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov



The moves came as the opposition Syrian National Coalition meets in Istanbul to decide whether to go to next week's peace conference

The Syrian foreign minister offered the concessions at key preparatory talks in Moscow for the so-called Geneva II peace conference aimed at finding a way out of almost three years of brutal conflict



His announcement could mark another diplomatic success for Russia after the Kremlin managed to convince Damascus last year to renounce its chemical weapons to avert US air strikes

It came as the deeply-divided Syrian opposition, under intense pressure from Western and Arab allies, was to meet in Istanbul to decide whether to join the talks opening in Switzerland on Jan. 22



The long-delayed Geneva II is aimed at finding a way to install a transitional government to help chart an end to the civil war, which has cost 130,000 lives since March 2011 and sent millions of people fleeing

Muallem said Syria would "make every effort to ensure this event is a success and meets the aspirations of the Syrian people and the direct orders of President Bashar Assad.

Muallem also offered to take a "series of humanitarian steps" to lead to the speedy delivery of aid to those in need, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said



But Muallem failed to address a joint call this week by Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry for a cease-fire in parts of Syria that could begin in the devastated northern city of Aleppo

Kerry also Thursday appealed to the umbrella National Coalition opposition not to boycott the Geneva talks because they represented "the best opportunity for the opposition to achieve the goals of the Syrian people and the revolution.



"The Syrian people need to be able to determine the future of their country, their voice must be heard," he told reporters

But parts of the opposition are wary of being drawn into a process they fear could result in Assad clinging to power and had set his departure as a condition for joining the talks

UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres said Friday it was vital to find a political solution to the conflict as he appealed for the world to ease the massive burden on countries which have taken in millions of Syrian refugees

The United Nations earlier this week launched a massive 6.5 billion appeal for humanitarian aid



"For me it is unacceptable to see Syrian refugees drowning, dying in the Mediterranean or pushed back at some borders," Guterres said at a meeting of refugee-hosting countries in Turkey

Friday's opposition meeting in Istanbul, which comes more than a week after the coalition failed to agree a united stance, is expected to be fraught

"The debate will be long and difficult because the coalition leadership is caught between a rock and a hard place," said one Western diplomat

"It is likely in the end that the coalition will send a delegation to Geneva but at what cost to its future.



A key bloc, the Syrian National Council, has already threatened to pull out of the coalition if it votes in favour of attending Geneva II

Complicating the situation are the fierce battles between mainstream rebels and Al-Qaeda linked jihadists that monitors say have killed over 1,000 people in two weeks



A senior Damascus official said this week that Western intelligence officials visited Syria to discuss joint security cooperation against the radical Islamist fighters, but this was denied by US officials

The Syrian regime had warned Monday against setting preconditions for the talks that kick off in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux

"Any person who seeks preconditions or mistakes their dreams for reality is leading to the failure of the Geneva conference before it even starts," Syrian state media quoted a foreign ministry source as saying



But Kerry sought to allay opposition fears that the talks would somehow legitimise Assad's regime and leave him in power, saying any names put forward for the transitional leadership must be agreed by both sides

"This means that any figure that is deemed unacceptable by either side, whether president Assad or a member of the opposition, cannot be a part of the future.



British media reported this week that the United States and Britain had even threatened to cut support to the opposition if it failed to send a delegation to Switzerland



"They are making it very clear that they will not continue to support us the way they are doing now and that we will lose credibility with the international community if we do not go," an unnamed senior coalition official was quoted as saying

Burs-pa-txw/bo

 






  MENA News Headlines
 Jul 24 2014 - Kuwait invests 17 bln in environmental fuel projectArab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) WAIT CITY July 23 (KUNA): Kuwait is investing over $17 billion (KD 4.6 billion) to develop oil refineries as part of the 'environmental fuel' project to be launched in 2018. The ...

 Jul 24 2014 - No dream job: Khartoum's walking department storeArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) The Sudanese man with an armful of battery-powered wall clocks pushes one through the taxi's open window. His head follows.'For you a good price" he tells the passenger. 'How ...

 Jul 24 2014 - Saudi- Al-Athr showcases abstract and geometry inspired works of artArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Jeddah's Al-Athr Gallery is hosting the abstract and geometry inspired work of 40 local and international artists until Oct. 10.The gallery opened its door in 2009 and has ...

 Jul 24 2014 - UAE- Alpha Holidays unveils summer tour packages across globeArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Alpha Holidays a 100 percent subsidiary of Alpha Tours Dubai which claims to be specialized in offering travel management services has announced holiday packages for customers in ...

 Jul 24 2014 - Oman Air launches flights to new Duqm airportArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Oman Air is set to start serving the new Omani regional airport at Duqm.The service will consist of four flights per week operating Oman Air's Embraer E175 aircraft.The Oman Air ...

 Jul 24 2014 - Saudi- Fawri centers to work during Eid holidaysArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Fawri centers will be working during Eid Al-Fitr holidays according to an announcement from Bank AlJaziraThe centers will be functional until the last day of Ramadan. They will ...

 Jul 24 2014 - Mumbai joins flydubai's growing networkArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Dubai-based flydubai has announced the launch of flights to Mumbai bringing the total number of destinations served by the carrier in India to seven with 25 flights a week.In ...

 Jul 24 2014 - Saudi fertilizer industry set for diversification eraArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi fertilizer industry leads regional production and is set to usher in a period of strong growth and diversification according to Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun secretary general ...

 Jul 24 2014 - MENA gets further boost with Saudi capital market reformsArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Following a Cabinet approval Saudi Arabia the largest equity market in the MENA region should soon open for direct foreign investments.The long-awaited move would finally come ...

 Jul 24 2014 - Envoy: 21m Chinese Muslims fast in RamadanArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) An estimated 21 million Chinese Muslims fast during the holy month of Ramadan and are allowed under the country's constitution to freely practice other Islamic rituals according ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help