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    Kurdish women hold flags of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and banners during a demonstration against the exclusion of Syrian-Kurds from the Geneva talks in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on February 4, 2016

    Turkey Against Kurdish PYD Taking Part in National Dialogue Congress

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    Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has commented on the possible participation of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party at the Syrian Congress of National Dialogue proposed by Russia.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) – Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin has voiced Ankara's opposition against Russia inviting the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey accuses of having links to the banned PKK group, to attend the Syrian Congress of National Dialogue.

    “We do not see the issue in Kurds being invited to the Congress of the Syrian people as representatives of the Syrian population, but the PYD is a terrorist organization. … Giving them space on the negotiations platform is unacceptable, we shall never agree to this,” Kalin told reporters.

    The statement came in the wake of the seventh round of Syrian peace talks in Astana, where participants discussed Russia's proposal to hold the Congress of National Dialogue in Sochi on November 18.

    READ MORE: New Deconfliction Zone to Be Established in Syria's Southern Damascus — Source

    Syrian National Congress

    The Moscow-promoted congress aims to bring together a large number of representatives of the Syrian government and opposition. The Russian Foreign Ministry has circulated a list of 33 organizations that have been invited to attend the proposed Syria National Dialogue Congress. The PYD is among the invitees.

    According to Russia's special presidential envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, the decision to hold the congress outside the Syrian territory was made for security reasons, among other issues. 

    Russia, Iran and Turkey, as guarantors of the observance of the cease-fire regime in Syria, have agreed to discuss Moscow’s proposal to convene the congress under the UN auspices.

    "We have fairly close contacts with Staffan de Mistura. We hope that he or his representatives will take part in the event, will speak there. … It will absolutely be the right thing," Lavrentyev said, adding that the United Nations had not made a final decision on the issue.

    According to Lavrentyev, the congress will focus on issues related to the elections and the constitutional reform; however, the creation of Syria's government of national unity could also be discussed in Sochi.

    If the Syrians agree on the constitution, the elections could take place before the end of both the incumbent president's tenure and the term of the Parliament, he said.

    "If the Syrians manage to agree on setting up a constitutional commission that will deal with drafting the constitution, if they can adopt the constitution within three to six months … and then create conditions for the adoption of this constitution at the relevant level and in accordance with the current Syrian legislation under the supervision of the United Nations, then, naturally, this will open the possibility of holding [early] parliamentary and presidential elections."


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