A four way meeting between senior officials from the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the Syrian opposition is scheduled in Munich on Saturday to discuss a political transition in the country, Syrian opposition sources said.
Syrian National Coalition President Moaz Alkhatib will meet U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, Syrian Coalition officials said on Friday.
The meeting, on the sidelines of the Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe, comes after Alkhatib survived a challenge to his authority after saying he would be willing to talk with Syrian officials without Assad stepping down first.
White House press secretary Jay Carney has said the US is intent to make Syrian President Bashar Assad step down.
"What is absolutely the case is that Syria’s future will not and cannot include Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian people have decided that,” Jay Carney said at a press briefing Friday.
He blamed Mr. Assad for killing his own people. "He [Assad] has long since given up any opportunity he might have had to participate in Syria’s future. His hands are drenched in blood, the blood of his own people,” he claimed.
When asked if the White House would back Syrian opposition’s bid to meet with representatives of Assad’s government, the spokesman said Washington’s position remained the same.
"I’m sure that in our conversations and the conversations of our international partners with the Syrian opposition, various approaches will be discussed. But what is unquestionable I think for the Syrian opposition, for the Syrian people is that Assad has to go,” Mr. Carney stressed.
An international Security Conference will work in Munich from February 1st to the 3rd. Its participants will discuss the EU problems, and also Euro-Atlantic and cyber security. However, the situation in the Arab countries is coming to the foreground today.
The 49th Munich conference is ready to receive top-level guests, including Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. They will discuss the crisis in the Eurozone, Euro-Atlantic security, security in South East Asia and in the Caucasus, terrorist threats, and diplomacy in the epoch of digital technologies, which is traditional for Munich forums.
In 2011 the situation in Egypt was added to the topics on the offer list. At that time the developments in Egypt were called instability. Finally, it became one of the main topics at the latest forum. Two years later, that is, in 2013, this topic is again among the priorities. However, today the geography has broadened. The programme of the 49th conference formulates the problem in the following way: "Syria, Mali and Outside: What Should Be Done to Crises?” The spread of terrorism and radical Islamism poses a threat to European countries. The policy that is being implemented by European countries is deepening the confrontation between the West and the Islamic world, Russia’s former ambassador to Libya and Yemen Veniamin Popov says:
"Western countries should learn a lesson from the past. Steps taken by them help the Islamists to come to power or to strengthen their positions. Western countries ignored the lesson of Libya. They are practically trying to do the same with Libya now. This will be a new hotbed of tension, and it is not known yet what should be done to put it out. What is the West planning to receive in addition to what it already has? The USA and other NATO countries want to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan, where the Taliban fighters are strengthening their positions. This means that new fronts are being created - including first of all the ones against the Western world."
Experts say that the reaction of the USA and Russia regarding the operation in Mali is significant enough. It is absolutely clear that the USA does not want to get involved in the conflict – it only helps the French to airlift the units. Russia has also approved the conduct of official Paris.
Not only the future of the Middle East Region will be discussed at the conference in Munich. A discussion of Euro-Atlantic security will be held at the Ball Hall of the Bayerischer Hof Hotel. Russia and the USA will boss the show there. The topic of missile defence and mutual reproaches are also traditional for Munich. Leaving the post of the U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton said though that a breakthrough in the relations between Russia and the West will be achieved in the coming few years. The current tension in the relations between Moscow and Washington will not have a bad impact on the dialogue on missile defence.