Arab league meeting

Added On November 5, 2013

Arab League foreign ministers gathered in Cairo on Sunday to push the Syrian opposition to attend the Geneva II peace conference.

During the meeting, the Syrian opposition set terms for attending the peace talks, throwing the long-delayed conference into further confusion.

The head of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmed al-Jarba, insisted the opposition would not attend the conference unless President Bashar al-Assad's resignation is on the table.

However, the demand had been repeatedly rejected by Damascus.

Jarba's remarks cast clouds on the proposed talks, as the United Nations envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has said there would be no pre-conditions for the long-delayed peace talks.

Meanwhile, the coalition also staunchly opposed any presence of Iran in the Geneva talks.

SOUNDBITE1 (ARABIC): AHMED AL-JARBA, Head of the Syrian National Coalition
"We'll fight to the bitter end. We are seeking for help and yelling the conscience of the world on the use of chemical weapons. We realized the world is sleeping on the bed of interests and can be waked up only by force."

The Cairo meeting comes as the Arab League has aimed to "encourage" the Syrian opposition to attend the Geneva II talks, which are backed by the United States and Russia.

SOUNDBITE 3 (ARABIC): NABIL AL-ARABI, Arab League General Secretary
"We should respond to the Syrian people and their aspirations to establish a democratic and united country, based on equality. We have urged the relevant parties stop the bloodshed in Syria. As long as the political solution is unable to be clinched, more Syrians would die."

The Geneva II conference, intended to bring Syria's warring sides to the negotiating table, has been repeatedly delayed due to severe divisions among different groups.