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US says presidential elections in Syria 'inconsistent' with Geneva communique

Deputy Spokeswoman for the US Secretary of State Marie Harf said that holding presidential elections in Syria would make it difficult to bring all Syrian sides together on the table.

"To be clear, any decision to hold presidential elections is inconsistent with the Geneva communique's stated goals," Harf said, "so, clearly, that would make the process much harder as we are trying to get the parties back to the table."

Harf acknowledged that there are diplomatic efforts going on and said that US officials met the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and discussed Geneva communique.

"There is a process that has been going on with the Geneva talks," she said, "and what, I think, Mr Brahimi is trying to determine right now is if there is a way forward with that process – if there is a way to get everybody back to the table."

She added: "But we need the regime, quite frankly, to agree to discuss a range of issues, not just terrorism."

A statement by the group of Syrian friends called upon the Syrian regime to keep the way open before diplomatic efforts based on Geneva statement.

The statement said: "The core group of the Friends of the Syrian People – including Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States – continues to support the efforts to mediate a political solution."

It continued: "The group calls upon the Syrian regime to cease its obstruction of the Geneva process by clearly endorsing all elements of the Geneva Communiqué."

Regarding presidential elections, the statement said: "The unilateral decision by the Syrian regime to hold presidential elections would be entirely inconsistent with the Geneva Communiqué's call for the establishment of a transitional governing body to oversee constitutional reforms leading to free and fair elections in a neutral environment.

"Elections organised by the Assad regime would be a parody of democracy, would reveal the regime's rejection of the basis of the Geneva talks, and would deepen the division of Syria."

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