Syrian Opposition Boycotts Sochi Congress

U.N. -brokered peace talks in Vienna between the Syrian government and opposition have ended, and the United Nations has yet to decide whether to attend a peace conference in Russian Federation next week, the host of the Vienna talks said on Saturday.

The guarantor countries Russia, Iran and Turkey, had agreed to gather for Syrian peace talks in southern Russian city of Sochi on January 29-30.

In addition to the United Nations sessions, Russia, Iran, and Turkey have been sponsoring parallel peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, dealing more with battlefield issues and have led to the establishment of four "de-escalation zones" in Syria past year.

Yahya al-Aridi, the spokesman for the opposition delegation in Vienna, was speaking at the end of two days of UN-brokered talks between the Syrian regime and opposition.

At the last round in December, the Syrian government delegation objected to the opposition's tough line on the future of Assad, and those talks achieved nothing.

Having regained the upper hand on the battlefield after almost seven years of conflict, Assad appears unwilling to negotiate with his enemies at all, let alone step down as part of any peaceful solution as rebels and opposition groups have demanded.

The cease-fire ended a two-month escalation between government forces and rebels in the Eastern Ghouta region. "It is high time that diplomacy, dialogue and negotiation prevail for the interest of all Syrians", he said.

De Mistura said he recalled in his consultation with a number of concerned countries that the objective of the political process is the "full and complete implementation of resolution 2254 negotiated in the Geneva intra-Syrian talks process under the auspices of the United Nations as mandated by the Security Council". And we didn't see this commitment.

"There is no question of letting the Geneva process be hijacked, diverted or bypassed", the AFP news agency quoted a French diplomatic source as saying during UN-sponsored talks in Vienna on January 25-26.

The focus in Sochi will be on hammering out a new constitution, according to the opposition, something that de Mistura also wants discussed in Vienna.

Related Articles