There’s a chance to end the Syrian crisis in two weeks if there’s political will on all sides, according to Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, political and media advisor to the Syrian president.
“If the various parties have the political will to put an end to the Syrian suffering, to the Syrian crisis, they can do it within weeks. If they can only stop financing the arming [of Syrian rebels] and the smuggling of terrorists across the border from Turkey, 50 percent of the Syrian crisis would be over in two weeks’ time,” Dr. Shaaban said in an exclusive interview to RT.
She said that the Syrian government was ready to take part in Geneva-2 peace talks without any preconditions. President Bashar Assad’s government is ready to sit down for peace talks with “people who represent the political opposition” of the Syrian population, but not the armed rebel groups, Dr. Shaaban said.
For example, the coalition represented by Saudi Arabia “has nothing to do with the Syrian people,” she said.
“We would like to know, ‘Who do these people represent on the ground?’ Do they represent the [Al-] Nusra Front or Al-Qaeda? They do not represent the Syrian people.”
Although many groups on the ground have refused to be part of the Syrian opposition’s national coalition, the main political parties are calling for Assad to step down as a precondition for the talks.
The Geneva-2 peace conference, which was to be held at the end of November, has now been rescheduled for December, a source told Itar-Tass news agency after a closed-door UN conference in Geneva on Tuesday.
Assad’s advisor added that Russia, China and Iran want to help put an end to the war in Syria, but other parties “have been putting up obstacles for two years” to undermine the solution of the crisis.
Dr. Shaaban also urged US Secretary of State John Kerry to be more constructive, “not to change his narrative” and to “take the same stance” every time he speaks about the Syrian crisis.
“The US Secretary of State should honor his words … and take the same stance everywhere he goes, so the people would understand what [the US stance is].”
Meanwhile, a joint mission of UN international experts and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is working in Syria on the destruction of the country’s chemical weapons arsenal.
In September, Syria agreed to comply with Moscow’s offer to put its chemical weapons under international control for destruction by mid-2014. The decision was made following threats by the US and its allies to launch military action against Syria after the August 21 attack in Damascus’s eastern Ghouta suburbs. The deadly attack killed anywhere from dozens to 1,300 people, according to differing reports.
On Thursday, the OPCW said that Syria’s declared stock of chemical weapons – 1,300 tons of chemicals and precursors needed for chemical weapons production, as well as over 1,200 empty chemical munitions – has been sealed off.