DAMASCUS, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said Friday that any talks about the departure of President Bashar al-Assad are a "black political comedy," the official SANA news agency reported.
The minister said the Syrian delegation will not hand over the power to the oppositional Syrian National Coalition (SNC) but will negotiate a political solution.
Al-Zoubi made the remarks in Geneva where the Syrian delegation and the representatives of the SNC are to kick off a one-week dialogue expected to settle their conflict.
He said talks about Assad's departure falls in the framework of a "black political comedy" and reflect the state of confusion the other party is having.
The Syrian delegation met with UN Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi and the atmosphere was positive, according to SANA, while Brahimi will talk with the opposition at 4 p.m. local time (1500 GMT), according to UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci in Geneva.
The Geneva II conference on Syria opened on Wednesday in Montreux, Switzerland, where the opening speeches showed deep conflicts between the two sides.
The Syrian government delegation demands that the Geneva II focus on combating terrorism, while the SNC wants the meeting to result in a transitional Syrian government without any role for Assad.
Geneva II conference shadowed by clashes, accusations
MONTREUX, Switzerland, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The international conference on Syria opened Wednesday was shadowed by clashes and accusations on the first day.
Bashar Jaafari, Permanent Representative of Syria to the United Nations, told journalists he was disappointed at the format of the ministerial meeting. Most of the 40 participants were "anti-Syria delegations", and their speeches "provocative and repetitive statements based on hatred towards the Syrian government", he said. Full story
Montreux meeting on Syria "small step", difficult work still ahead: Ban Ki-moon
MONTREUX, Switzerland, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The ministerial meeting in Montreux Wednesday is a small step for the resolution of conflict in Syria, while more difficult work is still ahead, said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
"Past three years were filled with horror: the bombardment of Syria, the use of chemical weapons, terrorist attack, persecutions, disappearances, torture, killing and destruction," he told journalists to the Geneva II meeting. Full story
Crossfire seen between Syrian gov't, opposition in Geneva meeting
MONTREUX, Switzerland, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- The first day of Geneva II conference saw clashes between Syria's government and the main political opposition, who sat down for talks Wednesday for the first time in three years.
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem urged international community to "stop supporting armed opposition" in the country, noting that some countries attending the conference had "Syrian blood on their hands." Full story