DAMASCUS — The transition plan chalked out by world powers in Geneva Saturday has proved to be nonstarter with both official media and the Syrian opposition branding it a failure.
And in continuing violence in the country, the death toll for a weekend of bloodshed topped 140.
The Geneva meeting agreed that the transition plan could include current regime members, but the West did not see any role for President Bashar Al-Assad in a new unity government. Russia and China insisted that Syrians themselves must decide how the transition takes place, rather than allow others to dictate their fate.
Moscow and Beijing, which have twice blocked UN Security Council resolutions on Syria, signed up to the final agreement that did not make any explicit call for Assad to cede power.
Official Syrian media and the opposition Local Coordination Committees (LCC) group demonstrated rare agreement in slamming the outcome.
The meeting “failed,” trumpeted Al-Baath, newspaper of the ruling party of the same name.
“The agreement of the task force on Syria in Geneva on Saturday resembles an enlarged meeting of the UN Security Council where the positions of participants remained the same,” it said.
The LCC, which organizes protests on the ground in Syria, said the outcome showed once again a failure to adopt a common position.
It called the transition accord “just one version, different in form only, of the demands of Russian leaders allied to the Assad regime and who cover it militarily and politically in the face of international pressure.”
According to the SNC’s official Facebook page, he described the plan as a “farce.” SNC spokeswoman Basma Qadmani, however, told AFP in Ankara there were some “positive elements” in the deal, although “important elements remain too ambiguous... and the plan is too vague to foresee real and immediate action.”
Iran, a strong ally of Assad, said the Geneva meeting was “unsuccessful” because Damascus and Tehran were not invited. “This meeting was unsuccessful... because Syria was not present and some influential nations were not present,” an Iranian deputy foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdolahian, told state television.
The Geneva deal came despite initial pessimism over the talks amid deep divisions between the West and China and Russia on how to end the violence that has killed over 15,800 since March 2011. — Agencies