The Syrian Negotiations Committee (NAC), which represents the main opposition groups to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, announced on Saturday its refusal to participate in Russia’s Syrian Congress in Sochi.
The Syrian opposition announced Saturday in Vienna that it would boycott the congress on Syria organized by Russia in Sochi. And this, after a new unsuccessful round of negotiations with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad under the aegis of the UN.
“The NSC announces its boycott of the Sochi conference that Russia is calling for on 29-30 January,” the Syrian Negotiations Committee (NSC), which represents the main opposition groups in Damascus, said on its twitter account.
This decision, to be detailed by the NSC at a press conference scheduled for the morning in the Austrian capital, comes after two days of negotiations that could not identify any progress, as the eight previous sessions held since 2015.
“I share the immense frustration of millions of Syrians, inside and outside the country, in the face of the lack of a political settlement to date”, admitted, visibly shot down, the UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, who oversees the process.
As in previous rounds, no direct meeting of the opposition and representatives of the regime took place, with the delegates talking separately with Staffan de Mistura.
The CNS conditioned his arrival in Sochi to obtain concessions from Damascus during the talks in Vienna. They had been focused on the constitutional aspect, less sensitive than the question of elections that would ultimately determine the fate of the Syrian president, a red rag for Damascus.
But the regime’s chief negotiator, Bashar al-Jaafari, on Friday accused Washington and its French, British, Saudi and Jordanian allies of “killing” the political process, in a roadmap proposal including a reduction of the president’s powers. Syrian.
“This is black humor” that countries that “participated in the bloodshed of the Syrian people” claim to “talk about a political solution and the future of Syria,” he said at the meeting. press.
Staffan de Mistura, however, recalled that the United Nations remained committed to “full and complete implementation” of its resolution 2254, which provides for the adoption of a new Constitution and the holding of free elections in a neutralized environment.
But al-Jaafari made it clear that he would favor the meeting proposed by Moscow and Teheran, allies of Damascus, and Turkey, support of the rebels. “The purpose of the Sochi conference is to establish, in the national interest, a Syrian dialogue without foreign interference,” he said.
Suspected by some Western chancelleries of aiming to circumvent the UN process, which Moscow denies, the Russian congress wants to gather some 1,600 participants.
But in the absence of most of the opposition, its legitimacy appears compromised. Especially since the participation of the Western powers, and the UN, appears hypothetical.
In the meantime, offensives carried out by Turkey on the one hand and by Damascus on the other continue to bloody the country where the conflict has already made more than 340,000 deaths since 2011.