Main Syrian Opposition Group Says to Boycott Peace Talks in Russia’s Sochi

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Syria’s main opposition group, the Syrian Negotiation Commission, will skip this month’s National Dialogue Congress in the Russian city of Sochi, the opposition's umbrella organization, the High Negotiations Committee, said Saturday.

Main Syrian Opposition Group Says to Boycott Peace Talks in Russia’s Sochi

"The Syrian negotiation commission of revolutionary and opposition forces declares boycott of the congress in Sochi called by Russia for January 29-30," the High Negotiations Committee tweeted.

The Sochi peace conference is scheduled for January 30. Russia has invited more than 1,500 representatives of the Syrian society to take part in the event. The United Nations and several regional and international organizations have been offered observer roles, according to the Sputnik.

The goal of the gathering is to bring together opposition and pro-government forces as well as representatives of Syria's numerous ethnic and religious groups. The congress lets the participators discuss their vision of Syria's future in a bid to advance the peace process.

Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that he had inquired about UN presence at the peace conference with UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Moscow said it expects the UN chief to respond positively to observer role at the congress.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also discussed in phone talks with de Mistura on Friday the preparations for the upcoming Syrian National Dialogue Congress, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"The Russian minister reiterated the special importance of this event for the success of the political settlement of the Syrian crisis in full accordance with the parameters set forth by UN Security Council Resolution 2254," the ministry said in a statement.

De Mistura will decide whether to attend the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi after the conclusion of negotiations in Vienna.

Speaking about the upcoming event, head of the Syrian government delegation in the Vienna talks Bashar Jaafari stated that all-inclusive national dialogue between different sections of Syrian society will define the outcome of it.

"As a matter of fact, the outcome of the conference to be held in Sochi will be a result of a dialogue to be held between the Syrian participants among themselves. The goal of the conference in Sochi is to engage in national, intra-Syrian dialogue without foreign interference," Jaafari told reporters on Friday after final talks with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

The diplomat underlined that the Vienna Intra-Syrian round of talks was in fact focused on the upcoming meeting in Sochi.

"Yesterday and today we held talks with the UN special envoy and we tried to make them as constructive as possible, especially on the eve of Sochi conference," he said, adding that the conference will be attended by about 1600 participants.

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