Below is the text of a London 11 communique, released today in Geneva, Switzerland.
On January 31, Senior Officials from Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States, after having met in Geneva with the Syrian opposition delegation led by the Syrian National Coalition, the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, adopted the following Core Group communiqué:
1. We appreciate the efforts of the Joint Special Representative Brahimi and his team to lay the foundations of negotiations between the Syrian regime and the Syrian opposition delegations. The UNSG has convened the parties to the Geneva II Conference with the aim of achieving a political transition on the basis of the Geneva Communiqué which will preserve the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria. As reiterated by the UNSG at the Montreux Conference, the transition should begin with the formation, by mutual consent, of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, including control over security, intelligence and military apparatuses. The negotiations are to form without delay a transitional governing body with full executive powers in full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué.
2. We welcome the courageous decision taken by the Syrian National Coalition to come to Geneva, and the constructive approach the opposition delegation has adopted throughout the first round of negotiations. We encourage the Coalition to pursue its efforts in this direction and to keep broadening the basis of the opposition delegation as well as to continue actively reaching out to all Syrians. We are fully committed to support this process.
3. The regime must adopt a clear position by endorsing the Geneva Communiqué and commit to the objective of the Conference as stated in the invitation letter of the UN Secretary General and as requested by the countries present in Montreux. The regime is responsible for the lack of real progress in the first round of negotiations. It must not further obstruct substantial negotiations and it must engage constructively in the second round of negotiations. We ask all those who have influence on it to engage to create the conditions for the process to succeed.
4. We express outrage at the maintaining, by the regime, of its “starve or surrender” strategy which in particular deprives hundreds of thousands of people in the suburbs of Damascus, in the old city of Homs and elsewhere, from receiving food and medicine, and at the arbitrary detention of tens of thousands of civilians. It is all the more important that the Geneva II process lead to tangible and immediate benefits to the Syrian people. We call on the international community to use all its influence to secure full humanitarian access throughout Syria without delay. The regime must let UN convoys have access to the old city of Homs, as proposed by the UN and accepted by the opposition.
5. We condemn in the strongest terms the continued use of “barrel bombs”, ballistic missiles and heavy artillery by the regime against the Syrian people, in full contradiction with the Geneva process as well as basic human rights principles.
6. We reiterate the right of the Syrian people to defend itself. In this vein, we commit to support the opposition groups respecting democratic and pluralistic values, as stated in the national covenant adopted by the opposition in July 2012, recognizing the political authority of the Syrian National Coalition and accepting the prospect of a democratic transition. We fully back the opposition groups in their action against Al-Qaeda affiliated groups. We condemn the presence of foreign fighters in Syria, both those fighting with the regime such as Hezbollah and other Iranian backed forces, and those fighting within other extremist groups. We call on the international community to do their part to ensure that the extremists don’t deny the Syrian people the opportunity to realize their democratic aspirations.
7. The Geneva II Conference aims to allow the Syrian people to control its future through a genuine political transition. It is of utmost importance that these goals should be reached.