DAMASCUS, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Syria's Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi reiterated his country's keenness to make the Geneva II peace conference successful on Tuesday, a day after the UN sent invitations to concerned parties to the long-awaited peace talks aimed at establishing a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis.
The minister's remarks came during a press conference held in the capital Damascus, during which he repeated the government's line that combating terrorism is crucial and should be the headlines of any political endeavor.
"The state and the army are fighting terrorism, regardless of the names of the terrorist groups," he told a press conference, adding: "Whomever held a weapon against the Syrian state is a terrorist and we would deal with him from this perspective."
He said it's his country's right to defend its national security in the face of any terrorism, adding that if the exiled opposition hindered the planned conference, there would be a domestic dialogue that would exclude opposition parties with adamant stance toward talking with the government.
Any solution that would come out of the Geneva II conference would be put to a national referendum, he said, adding that the exiled opposition would be delusional if it thinks that the weapon flow to the rebels would affect the government's stance in Geneva.
Speaking about President Bashar al-Assad's role in the coming phase or his possible re-election, al-Zoubi said it's the president's personal decision to decide whether he would run for the elections or not.
"I also stress to you that the Syrian street would urge President Bashar al-Assad to run for re-election," he said. "There is a popular decision to re-elect President Bashar al-Assad."
Taking a swipe at the exiled opposition, namely the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), al-Zoubi scoffed at the coalition's claim that it represents the Syrian people.
"At first they said they represent the Syrian people, but it turned out that they don't... later they said they represent the opposition, and apparently they don't either," he said a day after more than 40 opposition figures left the coalition over disputes over its participation in the planned conference.
Not only has the opposition failed to unite before commencement of the conference, but also the various rebel factions have turned against each other as the conference inches closer.
Over the past four days, news about the infighting among ultra- radical jihadist groups have grabbed headlines in reports by local and foreign media outlets.
Observers believe that the internal dispute among Syria's armed rebels gives Damascus a triumph card to play at the Geneva II conference slated to begin in about two weeks.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday started sending out invitations to the Geneva II conference, calling it "a unique opportunity for ending the violence" in Syria.
According to a statement issued by Ban's spokesperson, the Geneva II conference aims to bring delegations of the Syrian government and the opposition to a negotiating table in order to end their conflict and launch a political transition process through the full implementation of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012; the list of invitees was determined on Dec. 20 at a trilateral meeting held among the Russian Federation, the United States and the United Nations.
"The conference will convene under the chairmanship of the secretary-general, first in an international high-level format at Montreux, Switzerland, on 22 January 2014," said the statement. " Negotiations between the two Syrian parties, facilitated by Joint Special Representative Brahimi, will start at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 24 January 2014."
In Damascus, al-Zoubi said that the government delegation is going to Geneva "to reach results that could serve the Syrian people and state," adding that the government delegation will not pass on foreign agendas.
He went on to say: "Syria will go to Geneva without preconditions," adding the Syrian delegation will not talk to leaders of the radical rebels "because they are terrorists."
"No preconditions and no dialogue with terrorism," he reaffirmed.