BEIRUT - The Syrian opposition wants face-to-face negotiations with the government about a political transition at peace talks that are due to begin in Geneva next week, a leading Syrian opposition politician said on Wednesday.
Salim al-Muslit, spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said there could be no role for President Bashar al-Assad in the transition, saying "the heavy price paid by the Syrian people" would have been wasted if he remained.
Muslit also said the HNC had yet to receive an agenda for the negotiations that are due to begin on Feb. 23 after initial consultations beginning on Feb. 20. He said the negotiations should start with discussion of the transition.
"We want direct negotiations, we want to save time, we want a quick end to the suffering of the Syrian people," he said.