The Syrian National Dialogue Congress will be held in Sochi on January 29 and 30 of 2018, according to the 8th round of Astana Talks which concluded on Friday.
The two-day Astana Talks gathered delegates from Russia, Turkey, Iran, the Syrian government and the opposition, as well as UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.
Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov announced a joint statement from the Syria ceasefire guarantor states, Russia, Turkey and Iran, saying the Syrian National Dialogue Congress scheduled in January will invite delegates from all ethnic and religious groups, government and domestic and oversea oppositions, as well as observers from the UN, the Red Cross, and the World Health Organization.
“[The guarantor states of Syria ceasefire] reaffirm the determination to closely interact on a regular bases to support preparation for and convening of the Syria national dialogue congress in Sochi on 29th and 30th of January, 2018, with participation of all segments of the Syrian society and call on the representatives of the government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the opposition,” said Abdrakhmanov.
The three guarantor states will hold a preliminary meeting to finalize the attendee list on January 19 and 20.
The head of the Syrian government delegation, Bashar Jaafari, said to media that the Syrian government will work hard to ensure good communication within the Syrian National Dialogue Congress, but demands the withdrawal of Turkish and U.S. troops in Syria. Jaafari suggested the presence of foreign military in Syria can be seen as an invasion and provocation to Syria‘s sovereignty.
“We demand therefore for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of these foreign troops from our territory. Syria will attend the Syria National Dialogue conference to be held in Sochi. The Syrian government exerts all efforts to well prepare the ground for this conference, which will serve as a basis for the dialogue among the Syrians,” said Jaafari.