Syrian opposition counting on Trump after Obama ‘mistakes’
GENEVA - Syria's opposition is counting on the new US Trump administration to play a "positive" role to end the country's six-year war, after "catastrophic" policy mistakes under President Barack Obama, an official said.
The High Negotiating Committee (HNC), the main opposition group at UN-sponsored talks in Geneva, said it can help rein in Iran's influence in the conflict, which has killed over 310,000 people.
But speaking as the week-old Geneva talks draw towards a close with little sign of progress, HNC delegation chief Nasr al-Hariri said everyone is waiting for the new US administration of President Donald Trump to engage.
"We are here to... send a message to the new American administration which is trying... to fight terrorism, that we are the side working for peace and security in Syria.
"We are the side which is ready to be a real partner in fighting terrorism on the ground," he told a small group of journalists late Wednesday.
Syrian regime and opposition negotiators have been in Geneva since last Thursday, but there have been no face-to-face talks, as UN mediator Staffan de Mistura shuttles between the delegations.
The talks are expected to wrap up either Friday or this weekend, with little concrete progress to announce.
Obama stressed the need for President Bashar al-Assad's departure as part of any solution, but that goal wasn't achieved.
The new US administration has made it clear that its key priority in Syria is fighting Islamic State group jihadists.
Al-Hariri added: "The Syrian people are paying the price because of the Obama administration's catastrophic mistakes.
"Obama who lied to the Syrian people, who promised and didn't deliver, he drew red lines and erased it by himself, who said nothing about Assad's crimes."
He said that on "confinement of the Iranian influence... I think we can be an effective partner regarding this issue".
"Lots of countries are willing to support us... these countries are waiting for an American role because no one can work effectively but with an American role that gives legitimacy to all these measures.
"We hope that the new American administration would build its positions based on serious facts and to... bring back an effective American role in the region after the degrading role by Obama."