Syrian opposition u-turn: We’re ready for direct talks with Assad regime
BEIRUT - Syria's opposition chief Moaz al-Khatib said on Wednesday he is ready for dialogue with officials of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, subject to conditions including that some 160,000 detainees are released.
"I announce I am ready for direct discussions with representatives of the Syrian regime in Cairo, Tunis or Istanbul," Khatib said via his Facebook page, citing as another condition that passports for exiled citizens be renewed in embassies abroad.
"I became aware thanks to the media that the regime in Syria has called on the opposition to enter into dialogue," said Khatib, who heads the main opposition Syrian National Coalition.
"While it is not right for anyone to bargain with the freedom for which our people have paid so dearly in blood, I say there are basic conditions before I sit down with representatives of the regime," he said.
Khatib described his proposal as "a goodwill initiative to seek a political solution to the crisis, to prepare for a transitional phase that prevents any more bloodshed."
The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have been killed in Syria's 22-month conflict.