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UN envoy for Syria highlights role of Sochi congress for Geneva process, says Lavrov

February 01, 2018, 19:41 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to organizers, the Syrian congress brought together 1,511 delegates representing all strata of Syrian society

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©  Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura had confirmed the role of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress for intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

"In a conversation with me, de Mistura was specifically encouraged by the fact that heated debates that at times could be heard at the congress made it clear that the event had not been choreographed, but indeed ensured a democratic presentation of views by different representatives of the Syrian society," Lavrov said.

"Staffan de Mistura told me that the congress significantly helps his efforts to revitalize the Geneva talks and make them viable," Lavrov said.

The participants in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi adopted a 12-point statement, which outlined 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 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to provide assistance in organizing the work of the constitutional commission whose mandate will be determined within the framework of the Geneva process.

In their joint statement, the participants reiterated their commitment to Syria’s territorial integrity, the war on terror and preventing 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.

According to organizers, the Syrian congress brought together 1,511 delegates representing all strata of Syrian society. Most of the delegates (94.5%) were Arabs but there were also Kurds, Yazidis, Assyrians, Armenians, Circassians, Chechens, Dagestanis, Abkhazians, Turkomans and the Druze among the delegates. Key regional and international players had been invited as observers.

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