UNITED NATIONS, January 26. /TASS/. The United Nations’ participation in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Russia’s Sochi will depend on the results of the current Vienna talks involving Syria’s government and opposition, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said on Friday.
"The talks are still going on in Vienna as we speak, so they are not quite done yet. Once they've happened Mr. de Mistura will evaluate what the situation is and we can evaluate from there what our presence in Sochi may or may not be," he said.
The initiative to convene a Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi was announced at the latest meeting of the Syrian ceasefire guarantor nations (Russia, Iran and Turkey) in Astana in late December. The forum is scheduled to be held on January 29-30. Along with the Syrian sides, it is expected to be attended by observers, including from the United Nations. In all, the congress is expected to bring together about 1,500 participants. The congress’ key task is to set up a commission on working out Syria’s new constitution.
The United Nations has been tepid in its comments on the Russian initiative, saying only that it hails everything that might promote the UN-brokered settlement talks.
The current two-day round of discussions between Damascus and the Syrian opposition started in Vienna on January 25. It is being mediated by UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Day one yielded no visible results.