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Egypt 'pushing for deal to end war in Syria'

Egypt is trying to end the war that has left nearly 200,000 dead [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 22 January, 2015

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Syrian opposition source tells al-Araby al-Jadeed that Cairo wants to strike deal that would leave Assad in power - a condition rejected by the US-backed exile group, the Syrian National Coalition.
Egyptian intelligence authorities are trying to find a political solution to to the Syrian crisis that would allow Bashar al-Assad to remain in power, a source in the Syrian opposition has told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

The source said that Egypt wanted to reach a deal before the end of three days of talks between Syrian opposition factions, which began in Cairo on Thursday. The source said that Egyptian intelligence officials were talking to both sides about the solution.

"They are looking for a solution – even a temporary one – that will allow Assad to remain in power," said the source, who did not want to be named.

     How can we talk to someone responsible for the deaths so many Syrians?
Haitham al-Maleh, SNC member
Egyptian diplomatic sources told al-Araby al-Jadeed that the government in Cairo had the gacking of Gulf states to find an urgent solution to the Syrian crisis. It did not confirm the details of the plan, however.

Any solution that allows Assad to retain power goes against the pre-conditions set down by the US-backed Syrian National Coalition opposition group, which wants him removed before direct two-way talks are held.

Haitham al-Maleh, a member of the Syrian National Coalition, based in Brussels, told al-Araby al-Jadeed that it refused to negotiate with the regime.

"How can we talk to someone responsible for the death and displacement of so many Syrians?" he said. "The purpose of the Cairo meeting is to hold discussions between opposition groups, not with the regime," he added.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby has offered to host the talks, which are being held at the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs.

Some opposition leaders hope the meeting can unify Assad's opponents before planned talks in Moscow later this month between regime and opposition representatives.

A coalition source told the AFP news agency that the SNC had not been invited as a bloc, and five members were attending as individuals.

"The coalition decided no one would attend as an official representative because the coalition was not invited as a body. We don’t know the agenda of this meeting and we don't know who else is attending," the source said.

This article is based on a news agency report and the edited translation of a report from our Arabic edition.

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