Russia's Syria peace strategy in question

Preparations for Congress of Syrian National Dialog in Sochi

On the eve of the talks, the main opposition group - the Syrian Negotiation Committee (SCN) - and the Kurdish minority said they would boycott the event. "The UN-led Geneva process will agree on the proposals the special envoy will make on the mandate, terms of reference, powers, rules of procedure and selection criteria for the composition of the constitutional committee in Geneva". Instead, it asked the Turkish delegation to represent it. The Sochi Congress ended on Tuesday with a framework agreement to form a commission tasked with "drafting a plan for constitutional reform".

"The State is committed to national unity, social peace and comprehensive and balanced development with fair representation at the local administration level", the statement said.

Russia offered to host the forum in Sochi following a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad.

The Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC) which arrived from Ankara decided not to attend the congress when they saw the Syrian regime flag at the airport and the conference venue.

"We believe. that the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi will be able to create conditions for staging fruitful Geneva talks, taking into consideration that the part of the Syrian opposition that constantly makes preconditions, including for regime change, will be talked into sense by those who control it", Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier in January.




Euronews reporter in Sochi, summed up what the conference had been about.

Following the conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations special envoy to Syria, agreed to establish a constitution commission composed of delegates elected at the forum and representatives who didn't attend the talks, according to Russia's state-run Sputnik news outlet.

The new body is expected to meet in Geneva and work under the UN.

To that end, the delegates agreed on 12 principles that lay the foundation of a political settlement in Syria, concerning sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-intervention, autonomous right, equality, national unity, public reform, military building, combating terrorism, human rights, national identity, eliminating poverty and heritage preservation, according to the final statement.

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