Syria peace talks to be­gin in Rus­sia de­spite op­po­si­tion boycott

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Sochi, Rus­sia - Del­e­gates on Mon­day ar­rived for the first Syria peace congress in Rus­sia, but ex­pec­ta­tions for the dia­logue were tem­pered af­ter the wartorn coun­try’s main op­po­si­tion group said it would boycott the event.

Regime-backer Moscow has in­vited 1,600 peo­ple to the talks in the Black Sea re­sort of Sochi as part of a broader push to con­sol­i­date its in­flu­ence in the re­gion and start ham­mer­ing out a path to a po­lit­i­cal so­lu­tion to end the bloody con­flict.

Only a frac­tion of the in­vi­tees, about 350 peo­ple, are set to par­tic­i­pate at the Sochi event.

The aim of the Tues­day congress is to bring Syria closer to cre­at­ing a post-war con­sti­tu­tion, af­ter two days of sep­a­rate UN-backed talks in Vienna last week closed with­out any sign the war­ring sides had met face-to-face to dis­cuss the ground­work for the doc­u­ment.

The Krem­lin has down­played ex­pec­ta­tions of the event, with pres­i­den­tial spokesman Dmitry Peskov telling jour­nal­ists Mon­day that “break­throughs in the task of po­lit­i­cal reg­u­la­tion in Syria are hardly pos­si­ble.”

The Syr­ian Ne­go­ti­a­tion Com­mis­sion (SNC), the coun­try’s main op­po­si­tion group, said fol­low­ing the talks in Vienna, it would not at­tend the Sochi congress.


Bashar al Jaa­fari, Syr­ian chief ne­go­tia­tor speaks to jour­nal­ists af­ter the talks on Syria in Vienna on Fri­day

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