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Syrian forum in Sochi aimed at supporting UN-sponsored Geneva talks — Russia’s UN envoy

January 10, 8:32 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

Moscow has repeatedly stressed that the National Dialogue Congress "is not an alternative" to the Geneva process as the Syrian opposition assumes

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UNITED NATIONS, January 10. /TASS/. The Syrian National Dialogue Congress to be held in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 29-30 is not an isolated event and is aimed at supporting the UN-sponsored intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said on Tuesday.

He also expressed hope the UN representatives would attend the forum in Sochi. "We assume it is in the interests of the United Nations to participate since [the forum in - TASS] Sochi is not an isolated event, and should contribute to the UN-sponsored process," the diplomat said.

According to Nebenzya, Moscow has repeatedly stressed that the National Dialogue Congress "is not an alternative" to the Geneva process as the Syrian opposition assumes. "We are telling it to all, from Secretary-General [of the UN Antonio Guterres] to [his Special Envoy for Syria] Staffan de Mistura, to all participants [of Geneva talks], Syrian government and opposition and other member-states," he said, adding that the goal of the upcoming forum is to "enhance the UN-sponsored process in Geneva aimed at political settlement in Syria."

She Syrian ceasefire guarantor nations, namely Russia, Iran and Turkey, reached an agreement to organize a Syrian national dialogue congress in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi on January 29-30 on December 22, 2017 at a regular international meeting on Syria in Kazakhstan’s capital city Astana. The congress is expected to focus on Syria’s new constitution and UN-monitored elections on its basis. In the end of December, around 40 armed groups headed by the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) refused to delegate their representatives to the congress in Sochi if it avoids discussions of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s future. HNC has been insisting on Assad’s resignation at the beginning of the transition period, which was the reason for the failure of the eighth round on intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

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