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‘Sochi’ Agenda Reveals Dispute Between Moscow, Damascus and Tehran

‘Sochi’ Agenda Reveals Dispute Between Moscow, Damascus and Tehran

Friday, 3 November, 2017 - 06:45
Participants in the Astana meetings [Mukhtar Kholdorbekov/Reuters]

The agenda of Russia’s "Syrian Congress on National Dialogue" to be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, revealed on Thursday the presence of a dispute between the visions of Russia and the Syrian regime concerning the steps needed for a solution in the war-torn country.

The agenda seen by Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday shows that during the Congress, Moscow plans to gather all the sectarian, ethnic, religious and tribal entities to establish a committee tasked with drafting a new Syrian constitution capable of holding parliamentary and presidential elections, under the UN supervision and based on Resolution 2254.

According to some reports, Moscow has set the date for the Congress on Nov. 18.

In closed meetings, Russian officials say they “will continue to exert pressure on President Bashar Assad to accept three issues: A new constitution, presidential and parliamentary elections, and UN monitoring.”

However, there has been some controversy between Moscow from one side, and Damascus and Tehran from the other side. Tehran doesn’t look happy about the Russian proposal.

Two Iranian officials said on Thursday that in effect, Russia’s agenda means a political transition in Syria. Also, Assad insists on rejecting to organize presidential elections in the presence of UN observers.

Tehran expressed its dismay that Moscow had accepted a Turkish military presence in Idlib.

Also, Turkey bets on preventing the participation of the Kurdish National Democratic Union in the Sochi Congress while several Syrian opposition groups have already announced their boycott of the Russian meeting.

Separately, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that the Syrian regime and their allies had taken full control of the eastern city of Deir Ezzor after expelling ISIS militants following intense shelling of the city’s neighborhoods.

Regime forces had lost control of large areas of the city in mid-July 2014.

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