On Friday the Syrian National Council (SNC) renewed its rejection of an invitation to attend the Geneva II Conference set to take place in Switzerland on January 22 to discuss peace in Syria, AFP reported.
"After meetings with delegations of Syrian friends, UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and the Russian foreign ministry, SNC decided not to attend the conference," SNC member Sameer al-Nashar told AFP.
The SNC initially announced its rejection to attend the conference on October 13 last year. It threatened then to withdraw from the coalition of the Syrian opposition if the latter attended. The coalition of the Syrian opposition has not yet rejected its invitation to the conference.
Al-Nashar added: "The way the conference has been set up is bad…it will deal with both the Syrian regime and the opposition in the same way. We refuse that." He continued: "During our meetings with the international community, nothing has been compromised."
The SNC reiterated its refusal for any guarantees to be given to Bashar Al-Assad. "The US agrees on our demand to remove Al-Assad, but Russia refuses it," Al-Nashar said.
He expressed his hope that the Coalition for the Syrian Opposition would not attend the conference. "There are many other opposition parties, besides the SNC, who will not attend," he said.
The Coalition for the Syrian Opposition is holding its general assembly on Sunday or Monday in Istanbul and it is expected it will then decide its position regarding the conference.
Al-Nashar said that fighters on the ground reject the conference and this means that "the conference will not take place."