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Sochi congress to boost Geneva talks on Syria — expert

One of the forum’s tasks is establishment of a commission to work on Syria’s constitution

SOCHI, January 30. /TASS/. The Syrian National Dialogue Congress that opened on Tuesday in Sochi will galvanize the talks on Syria in Geneva, head of the Institute of Oriental Studies (part of the Russian Academy of Sciences) Vitaly Naumkin said.

"The Geneva talks will receive a boost after the Sochi [congress] and will be promoted. I am confident that the decision on whether [the congress] should be held on a regular basis and whether it will continue or not should be taken during consultations with our partners," the expert said.

"The arrival of UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Sochi means that the Sochi platform is operating within international law," Naumkin noted. "This adds legitimacy to the congress; that said, the forum does not replace the Geneva format."

According to their nationality, most of the participants are Arabs (94.5%), but among those invited are also the Kurds, Yazidis, Assyrians, Armenians, Circassians, Chechens, Dagestanis, Abkhazians, Turkomans and the Druze. All major regional and international external players were also invited as observers. One of the forum’s tasks is establishment of a commission to develop Syria’s constitution.