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Russian senator upbeat on outcome of Sochi-hosted Syrian congress

January 31, 14:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The participants in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi adopted a 12-point statement, which outlined the Syrians’ views on their country’s future

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© Sergei Bobylev/TASS Host Photo Agency

MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. The results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress held in Sochi are very encouraging, with many important decisions made. A lot will depend now on the actions by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, head of the Russian Federation Council’s (upper house) International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said on Wednesday.

"The results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress that concluded in Sochi are very encouraging," Kosachev wrote on his Facebook page.

He noted that the forum had materialized despite attempts to boycott it, derail it or even play down its significance. In addition, the forum’s participants reached an agreement for the future, that is, to set up a committee, which will draft Syria’s new constitution, and adopted a fundamentally important 12-point statement, "which can be considered the basis for a future constitution."

"It was possible to ensure a clear link between the negotiations in Sochi and the Geneva process, in no small way thanks to the participation of UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura "who ‘consecrated’ the Congress on behalf of the UN and supported its decisions, which are to be implemented in the Geneva format," the lawmaker noted.

According to Kosachev, de Mistura’s participation in the Congress "largely stripped those of their trump cards who tried to challenge Sochi in contrast to Geneva or present the Congress as some alternative to the Geneva negotiations (and even compete with them), which is advantageous only to Damascus or Russia." "In particular, in response to all questions on Sochi, Washington specifically emphasizes that the most important thing for the US is Geneva. The clear link between Sochi and Geneva, thanks to de Mistura’s participation and the Congress’ decisions oriented towards Geneva naturally, won’t make it possible to ignore the obvious achievements in Sochi," the senator stressed.

According to the senator, those who did not go to Sochi "risk being left out of Syria’s real political settlement and constitutional process."

Sochi Congress results

The participants in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi adopted a 12-point statement, which outlined the Syrians’ views on their country’s future. It noted that Syria must preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity, while only the Syrian people can determine their future through elections. The Syrians also asked the UN secretary-general to provide assistance in organizing the work of the constitutional commission whose mandate will be determined within the framework of the Geneva process.

The delegates to the congress agreed to start work on revising the country’s constitution, to prepare the legal groundwork for the country’s post-war recovery and urged the global community to help restore Syria following its decimation from seven years of civil war.

In their joint statement, the participants reiterated their commitment to Syria’s territorial integrity, the war on terror and religious fanaticism. They also spoke out in favor of creating a unified army and holding free elections, which are to determine the country’s destiny.

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