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Russia Insists on Holding Sochi Summit in Parallel with Geneva Talks on Syria

Russia Insists on Holding Sochi Summit in Parallel with Geneva Talks on Syria

Thursday, 16 November, 2017 - 12:15
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany July 7, 2017 (Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS)

Moscow is insisting on holding the Syrian National Dialogue Conference in Sochi, which is set to kick off on December 2, a few days after the launching of the Geneva meeting on Syria upon the initiative of UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.


Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov met with the international envoy in Geneva to discuss the role of the United Nations in the “Sochi Conference”, which Moscow wants to hold with the participation of around 1,300 participants to discuss “political reform” in Syria and the formation of a committee to amend or draft the constitution, paving the way for the elections.


According to information available to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Russian Defense Ministry has started contacts with Syria to invite, to Sochi early next month, about 1,000 representatives of the “de-escalation zones” agreements, in addition to political forces and civil society groups, as well as hundreds of participants from other countries.


While Tehran, Damascus and Washington have not welcomed the holding of the Russian conference, Ankara has set a condition represented by its rejection to invite the Democratic National Union of Kurdistan to the conference, in order to encourage Ankara’s allies in the Syrian opposition to attend the talks, as reported by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi a few days ago.


The Sochi conference was present in the meetings of Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister Hassan Ansari in Moscow and his talks in Damascus with the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar al-Assad, and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem.


It will also be discussed during the upcoming meeting of the foreign ministers of countries sponsoring the Astana talks – Russia, Turkey and Iran – which will be held in the few coming days.

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