Gov­ern­ment, op­po­si­tion say they each will at­tend talks

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

DAMASCUS | Syria’s gov­ern­ment and the head of the main Western-backed op­po­si­tion coali­tion both con­firmed Wed­nes­day that they would par­tic­i­pate in a U.N.-spon­sored peace con­fer­ence.

But the two sides laid out starkly dif­fer­ent vi­sions of what talks would bring: the op­po­si­tion sees a tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment emerg­ing, while the gov­ern­ment in­sists it is not go­ing to the con­fer­ence to hand over power.

The United Na­tions on Mon­day an­nounced that the long-de­layed peace talks will be­gin Jan. 22 in Geneva.

The full list of par­tic­i­pants also has not been de­cided. The Syr­ian Na­tional Coali­tion, for ex­am­ple, has said it re­jects Iran’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the con­fer­ence, un­less it with­draws forces fight­ing on As­sad’s be­half.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS PHOTOGRAPHS

Demon­stra­tors ap­peared to num­ber in the tens of thou­sands Wed­nes­day — far less than the 100,000-plus mus­tered Sun­day. The num­bers in­di­cate they are un­likely to top­ple the gov­ern­ment with­out more pop­u­lar sup­port.

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