Lavrov, de Mistura discuss Syrian National Dialogue Congress

27 January, 2018, 20:26 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Nasr al-Hariri Head of the Syrian High Negotiations Committee, attends a news conference in Geneva Switzerland

Yahya al-Aridi, a spokesman for the opposition delegation at the Vienna talks on Syria, said Russian Federation had not provided the necessary commitment and that the Sochi conference was aimed at undermining the UN-led efforts.

Guterres "is confident that the congress in Sochi will be an important contribution" to reviving the peace talks held under United Nations auspices in Geneva, said United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Some 1,600 people have been invited to the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi next week for a Syria peace congress with the aim of agreeing a post-war constitution, Moscow said Thursday.

"Russia has not succeeded in promoting its conference", the opposition Syrian Negotiations Commission (SNC) said on its Twitter account.

The previous attempts stumbled in particular over the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with the government delegation refusing to meet the opposition face-to-face until they drop demands that he leaves office.

Hoping to extract some progress in Vienna, where the talks have been moved for this round for logistical reasons, United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura has put the subject of a new constitution on the agenda, avoiding the trickier subject of elections.




Two weeks ago, Turkey launched air strikes and shelling against Kurdish militias in northern Syria, marking a unsafe new escalation in the conflict.

The Russian foreign ministry welcomed Guterres' decision, and said the Vienna talks had "focused in particular on the problems of constitutional reform" - a process that could determine whether or how Assad remains in power.

He noted that if the Russians want to bring peace to Syria they should put their efforts on Geneva talks.

The Sochi congress will be held on January 29 and 30. Described by the United Nations as an " epicentre of suffering", the fate of eastern Ghouta remains a major cause of worldwide concern.

RIA news agency cited a draft communique of the congress, saying it would call for Syria to remain a united country and for a vote on the future of the country. "Deputy Foreign Minister Nazar Khairallah will head it", the source said.

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