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Moscow: Assad Remaining in Power Condition for Attending Sochi Congress

Moscow: Assad Remaining in Power Condition for Attending Sochi Congress

Sunday, 24 December, 2017 - 08:30
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Bashar Assad in Sochi in November. (Reuters)

Russia’s Foreign Ministry affirmed that the work is ongoing to determine the list of participants in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress that will be held in Sochi in late January 2018.

Moscow has meanwhile set a condition that the opposition abandon its demand that regime head Bashar Assad leave power.

Aleksandr Lavrentiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin's Special Envoy on Syria, said that if the opposition wants to attend Sochi to reiterate its rejection that Assad remain in power, then there is no place for it there.

He attributed this position to his belief that those who insist on Assad leaving his position support the continuation of the conflict.

He stressed however that the Syrian regime must approve the constitutional committee, and highlighted how important it was that the Syrian National Dialogue Congress take place under the auspices of the United Nations.

The congress will include representatives from all categories of the Syrian people, granting the conference a legality to form a constitutional committee that drafts a constitution which elections will be based upon.

Russian President's Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said: “I think a constitutional committee will be formed and enjoy a general mandate from the people.”

“We will call on all Syrian participants in the Astana and Geneva processes,” he added, stressing that the lists of participants in the Sochi congress are currently being prepared while taking into account the stances of the guarantor states.

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