The opposition’s Syrian Turkmen Council will boycott the planned National Dialogue Congress in the Russian city of Sochi at the end of January, according to one of the council’s representatives.
Member Mohamad al-Shemali said that the Council will abide by the Syrian National Coalition’s decision to boycott the Moscow-led event, saying no official or personal invitation was received by any Turkmen member in the key opposition group.
Sources told Zaman al-Wasl on Wednesday that the Turkmen bloc is due to participate in the Sochi talks, despite the Coalition’s efforts to undermine the Russian push to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power through the Congress.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said last week it is preparing the list of participants for the Congress. As per the new boundaries set by the ministry, the Syrian opposition must set aside the notion of removing Assad from office as a prerequisite for participating in the talks.
The ministry also endorsed U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s invitation to the Congress while noting the possibility of American participation, although only as an observer.
In a statement posted online last week, 40 moderate and Islamist groups said that Russia seeks to keep Assad in power, ignoring the Geneva resolutions on Syria and the revolutionary principles that erupted seven years ago.
A roadmap for a transition in Syria outlined in a U.N. Security Council resolution adopted in December 2015 calls for a Syrian-led political process facilitated by the United Nations which would establish “credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance” within six months and begin the process for the drafting of a new constitution and U.N.-supervised elections.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.