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Moscow invites Syria groups to dialogue summit in Sochi

Invitation is declined, however, by opposition’s High Negotiations Committee and Revolutionary Forces Coalition

03.11.2017
Moscow invites Syria groups to dialogue summit in Sochi FILE PHOTO

By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA

Moscow has invited all Syrian opposition forces to attend a planned Syrian National Dialogue Congress in the city of Sochi, Russia’s foreign minister said Friday.

"Invitations to the congress were sent to the [Syrian] government and… to all opposition forces both in Syria and abroad," Sergey Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russia’s official TASS news agency.

Lavrov described the initiative as the "first" attempt to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which calls on the international community to help Syria’s warring factions convene an “inclusive” national dialogue summit.

During the last round of Syria peace talks in Kazakh capital Astana late last month, three guarantor countries -- Russia, Turkey and Iran -- agreed to discuss proposals for holding a national dialogue conference.

However, the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee and the Syrian Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces both appear to have declined invitations to take part in the conference, which is slated for Nov. 18.

Syria has only just emerged from a devastating civil war that began in 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, according to UN figures.

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