"We welcome the Syrian Coalition's decision to participate in the Geneva II conference. This is a significant step forward in the process to convene the Geneva conference, the goal of which is the full implementation of the Geneva Communique and establishing by mutual consent of the two negotiating delegations a transitional governing body exercising full executive powers," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
Syria's Opposition National Coalition said Monday it will attend peace talks but only on the condition that President Bashar al-Assad transfers power and is excluded from any transition process.
However the Syrian government, while expressing willingness to attend the proposed Geneva conference, insists that Assad's departure from power is not up for discussion.
Noting that negotiations represent the best opportunity to end the bloodshed, Psaki said, "The Coalition cited the need for progress on humanitarian issues ahead of a Geneva II meeting, notably permitting humanitarian access to besieged areas and the release of female and child prisoners."
She also said that the US will work closely with its international partners, including Russia, "to make progress on these humanitarian issues".
The UN backed peace conference is planned to take place in Geneva in late 2013. More than 120,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict erupted in March 2011, according to various human rights group.
Millions more have been displaced inside Syria or have fled abroad as Syrian rebels, have clashed with government forces.


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