Syrian opposition aims for Assad’s removal in Geneva talks

The Syrian opposition delegation at peace talks in Geneva is aiming for the removal of President Bashar al-Assad and plans to engage his negotiators in serious and direct talks, the head of the opposition delegation Nasr Hariri said on Monday.

Hariri called for major powers, especially Russia, to pressure the Assad government into real negotiations on a political transition followed by a new constitution and free elections, in line with a U.N. roadmap to end the six-year war.

“We stress that political transition which achieves the ousting of Assad at the beginning is our goal,” Hariri told a news conference after arriving in Geneva for a round of U.N.-led talks that is scheduled to start on Tuesday.

“Our goal in the negotiation will be the departure of Bashar al-Assad from the beginning of the transition,” he said.