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Syrian opposition’s negotiations committee confirms boycott of Sochi Congress

January 27, 3:47 updated at: January 27, 6:16 UTC+3

According to sources familiar with the situation, 26 out of 36 members voted against participation

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© AP Photo/Diaa Hadid

VIENNA, January 27. /TASS/. Spokesman for the Syrian opposition’s negotiations committee Firas al-Kaldi has confirmed to TASS that the committee has decided to reject participation in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress due in Sochi on January 29-30.

The committee’s vote on participation in the Sochi event took place late on Friday. According to sources familiar with the situation, 26 out of 36 members voted against participation, which is enough to make a decision.

The committee’s head Nasr al-Hariri is expected to announce the decision at a press conference later on Saturday.

Syrian opposition’s Moscow Group 

 The results of the Syrian opposition’s negotiations committee’s vote on participation in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress due in Sochi show that the decision is not final, Qadri Jamil, the chairman of the Moscow group of the Syrian opposition, told TASS.

"After the establishment of the committee, it was decided that 26 out of 36 votes are necessary to make such decisions," he said, adding that "34 people took part in the voting and only 24 of them voted against participation in the congress, while ten were in favor of participating in it." "It means, the answer is neither yes nor no," Jamil added.

According to him, one of the committee’s members withdrew before the vote, while another one died in an assassination attempt. "If they will be willing to hold additional talks with us then we may find a way out, but if not, everyone will do what they think is the right thing to do," Jamil said.

He noted that four members of the Moscow Group had voted for the committee’s participation in the Congress, as well as four members of the Cairo Group and two independent members.

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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