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Al-Qamishli: Kurdish parties refuse dialogue with Bashar al-Assad

KURDWATCH, June 11, 2011—After much hesitation, the parties of the Kurdish Patriotic Movement in Syria, which is an association of the nine parties of the Political Council, the two parties of the Democratic Alliance, and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), decided not to meet with President Bashar al-Assad at this time. In a statement issued on June 8, 2011, the parties wrote that they would have agreed to »an initiative for a meeting with the president that aimed at developing a political solution to the country’s current crisis«, but not under the current political conditions.
This decision by the political leadership was due in large part to pressure from the Kurdish population in Syria and in the Diaspora, including party members. After initially agreeing to the meeting with Bashar al-Assad, the Kurdish parties were intensely criticized from all sides. The Governor of al-Hasakah province invited the parties to travel to Damascus on short notice on June 4, 2011 for a meeting with the president. Originally they were to take part in talks in two groups, and the government had also invited fifteen other Kurdish public figures. The Kurdish parties, however, made their participation contingent on having the representatives of all parties, and only these representatives, meet together with al-Assad. The Governor of al-Hasakah province accepted this request.
When the parties of the Kurdish Patriotic Movement in Syria met on June 3, 2011, they decided to accept the invitation from Damascus. The Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî) was the only party that wanted to discuss the situation with its party board before agreeing to a meeting. The Kurdish Patriotic Movement then told the government that the meeting would have to be postponed a few days.
The Kurdish Future Movement in Syria did not participate in this meeting. In a statement on May 28, 2011, they stated that they were canceling their membership in the Kurdish Patriotic Movement as well as in the Kurdish Political Council in Syria because the other political parties had been too hesitant in supporting the dissident demonstrations.
On June 5, 2011, the speaker of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (Yekîtî) in Syria stated that his party would not take part in the meeting with Bashar al-Assad, »as long as the repression of peaceful demonstrations has not been stopped, the military has not been pulled out of the cities, the siege of the cities has not ended, and the right to demonstrate has not been guaranteed«. Moreover, the party speaker stated that the party did not want to have a dialogue with the Syrian regime without the approval of the allies in the national democratic Syrian Opposition.
Ultimately, the Kurdish Coordinating Committee, which is made up of the Kurdish Union Party in Syria (Yekîtî), the Kurdish Freedom Party in Syria (Azadî), and the Kurdish Future Movement in Syria, rejected the offer to participate in a dialogue with Bashar al-Assad. In a statement issued on June 7, the committee demanded a general dialogue with the entire Syrian opposition in the form of a national conference. Moreover, according to the three parties, before a dialogue can take place it must be ensured that Syria will have a new modern constitution in which »no party or ethnicity is discriminated against« and in which »the political and ethnic diversity [of Syria] is accepted«.

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