Negotiated Settlement Still UnlikelyJuly 2011 | Political Risk Analysis
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Despite the commencement of a national dialogue, we maintain our view that the probability of a negotiated settlement between the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups will remain low (see our online service, June 28, 'Opposition Meeting Highlights Internal Divisions'). During President Assad's third televised speech to the country on June 20, he called for a national dialogue to be held, and Vice President Farouq al-Shara officially opened the discussion on July 10. Most opposition leaders refused to attend, reiterating their stance that they would not negotiate until the regime ends its policy of violent repression. However, a number of moderate intellectuals, independent members of parliament, and minor opposition figures attended the meeting, and they expressed their criticism of the regime's heavy-handed policies.