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Sochi Congress participants should ‘rally around’ Syria’s unity, says delegate

One of the congress’ main objectives is to establish a commission to draw up Syria’s constitution

SOCHI, January 29. /TASS/. Participants in the Sochi-hosted Syrian National Dialogue Congress on January 29-30 should rally behind the idea of a unified republic and launch talks to ensure the country’s territorial integrity, a member of the political bureau of the Syrian People’s Appeal party, Riyadh Tabara, said.

The People’s Appeal is part of the government’s coalition of parties but shares the opposition’s views.

"One of the key issues at the congress is to preserve Syria’s unity and territorial integrity. For us this is a priority issue since we see that there are plans to dismember Syria on account of the US military presence on our soil," he said. "We should be united around this key idea," Tabara stressed.

The politician also voiced hope that the Sochi meeting would promote dialogue among all factions in Syrian society, especially between the government and the opposition. "Those in charge among the opposition’s ranks should understand that regardless of any differences, we must rally around the idea of a united Syria," he noted.

Tabara warned against any attempts to determine the fate of the country’s President Bashar Assad in advance, saying no one ought to interfere in this issue. "Syrians will decide themselves who will be the president," he stressed.

Another key issue to be touched upon at the forum will be restoring the war-torn country that had suffered enormous devastation due to the seven-year conflict. "Besides the need to hold a direct dialogue that should spawn ideas and grounds for Syria’s political settlement, we want to discuss the issue of the country’s restoration. This is one of the key points to be discussed here [in Sochi]. Russia is already playing a significant role in this effort by providing humanitarian assistance to Syria, and we are very grateful for this," he noted.

Syrian National Dialogue Congress

Delegates participating in the Syrian National Dialogue Congress started arriving in Sochi on Sunday and most representatives are expected to show up on Monday. According to the organizers, some 1,600 people representing all factions of Syrian society have been invited to take part in the forum.

Most of the participants are Arabs (94.5%), but among those invited are also the Kurds, Yazidis, Assyrians, Armenians, Circassians, Chechens, Dagestanis, Abkhazians, Turkoman people and the Druze. All major regional and international external players were invited to the Congress as observers.

One of the congress’ main objectives is to establish a commission to draw up Syria’s constitution.