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Sochi Congress to bring political freedom to Syria — opposition party

January 24, 13:45 UTC+3 BEIRUT

The Syrian National Dialogue Congress will take place in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 29-30

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BEIRUT, January 24. /TASS/. The Building the Syrian State (BSS) party will participate in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress scheduled to be held in Russia’s Sochi on January 29-30, the party said in a statement available to TASS.

"We are committed to cooperation with the Russian government as other guarantors of the ceasefire - Iran and Turkey - and hope that the Sochi event will help create a new Syrian state, based on the equality of all citizens regardless of their religion," the statement reads.

According to the BSS, the Sochi Congress "should pave the way for bringing political freedom to Syria." "Without incorporating democratic principles into the political system, all efforts aimed at the country’s renewal will go in vain," the statement adds.

The party also emphasized the need to "put an end to unlawful arrests and the activities of military tribunals," adding that "human rights defenders should receive access to detention facilities."

The BSS party was founded in the Syrian capital of Damascus in 2011. The party leader Louay Hussain is an Alawite just like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In February 2017, at the party’s initiative, a National Bloc, comprising secular opposition parties, was established in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

The guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire - Russia, Iran and Turkey - announced at a meeting held in Kazakhstan’s capital of Astana in December 2017 that the Syrian National Dialogue Congress would take place in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on January 29-30. Participants are expected to work out a new Syrian constitution and discuss preparations for the UN-sponsored elections. Around 1,500 representatives of various Syrian political forces are expected to participate in the event.

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