A senior official in the Syrian Foreign Ministry told All4Syria that Russia has provided the Syrian Foreign Ministry with a list of 35 names to be invited to attend the Moscow conference, due to be held January 26.
The source claimed the ministry has approved all the names, although Walid al-Muallem objected immediately to the invitation of former Foreign Ministry spokesman Dr. Jihad Makdessi, without prior consultation.
The regime justified the rejection by requesting Russia not invite any former Syrian government officials, which would include Makdessi.
"Russia now needs the regime more than the regime needs it, as Russia has become a hostage to the four vetoes it used. It might be enough to note that Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov, has asked Bashar al-Assad several times to release a limited number of political prisoners such as Abdul Aziz al-Khair and Rajaa Nasser, but Assad refused the request repeatedly,” the source said.
“Russia does not provide the Syrian regime with any service for free, and it is no longer a superpower whose economy consists of 13% of the global economy – and has recently declined to only 3% – leading the Chinese Prime Minister to mock it by stating: ‘We are as concerned with Russia as America is concerned with Canada’.
“The Syrian regime is not interested in the Moscow conference, as the regime is currently not facing any significant pressure. Consequently, it is not obliged to sit down with the opposition in any conference. But the Syrian regime realizes that Russia is like a bear; it is better to go with it than provoke it", the source explained.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer