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Those who skipped Sochi forum can still be invited to constitutional committee — diplomat

January 31, 4:36 UTC+3

"Too many people are afraid of expressing their real point of view, sometimes because they fear for their lives," he said

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SOCHI, January 31. /TASS/. Members of the Syrian opposition, who skipped the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi can still become members of the newly established constitutional commitee, the Russian president’s special envoy for Syrian settlement said on Tuesday.

"We still assume that it (the Istanbul platform of the opposition - TASS) has realistically minded members who can be referred to as the moderate opposition, not its radical part," Alexander Lavrentyev told reporters at a news conference to sum up the results of the Sochi congress. "We welcome the participation of such candidates not only in various events but also in the work of the constitutional commission."

"We believe that this issue cannot be approached to on the principle that ‘if you are not taking part in the congress, you have no right to be in the constitutional committee,’" he said.

"Too many people are afraid of expressing their real point of view, sometimes because they fear for their lives. Sometimes they publicly refuse to attend an event, but deep inside they are willing to take part. We give them this chance - the chance of further participation in the settlement process," he went on.

According to Lavrentyev, some Syrian opposition members refused to take part in the Sochi congress due to the creation of the constitutional commission and the arrival of Iranian delegates.

"The Russian Foreign Ministry has already issued a press statement saying that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has held two phone conversations with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu," the presidential envoy said.

He said that some members of the "radically-minded" opposition, which "refused to participate in the forum," has "put forward absolutely inadmissible conditions to the organizers, to Russia, starting from decorations of the hall, symbols, posters and so on. They also demonstrated aggressive behavior."

The Russian diplomat added that the organizers of the forum, together with UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, have managed to agree on all issues that caused concern.

"This applies to chairmanship in the constitutional commission and a number of issues regarding the address and the final communique," he said.

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